A HAUL of heroin thought to be one of the largest ever recovered in Hartlepool was uncovered after police swooped on a problem street.
More than 30 officers raided three houses in Stephen Street as part of efforts to rid the town of the deadly drug.
They smashed in doors before carrying out detailed searches of the terraced homes for any illegal substances with the help of police dogs. Officers, who had to protective clothing to go in one house because of its filthy state, discovered a “significant” amount of suspected heroin and crack cocaine, along with some cash.
Detectives pinpointed the addresses after building up information about drug activity with the help of concerned residents in the area.
A man and a woman, both 34, were arrested during the operation on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs and taken away in separate police vans to be quizzed by detectives.
Police say the activity yesterday is part of a wider effort to clampdown on drug dealing in Hartlepool.
Acting Detective Sergeant Pete Young, of Hartlepool CID, said: “This was a significant recovery and our inquiries are ongoing into this matter.
“Yesterday was the high-profile end of a lot of work, the majority of which takes places behinds the scenes. Every day we are working to stop drug activity in the town.
“We have built up intelligence with the help of the local community and their concerns about drug activity in the local area.
“We would again ask anyone with information or suspicions about illegal drug activity in their area to contact us.”
The joint operation was carried out between the town’s South and Central Neighbourhood Policing Team and the District Drugs Unit shortly after 8am yesterday.
Stephen Street was blocked off for an hour after three police vans and two police cars pulled into the road.
Neighbours stood on their doorsteps to find out what was going on as battering rams were used to cave in doors.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said he has lived in Stephen Street for a couple of years and was hoping to move away.
He said: “It’s not as bad as people make out, but it’s Stephen Street and we’ve always had problems.
“I don’t really like being woken up so early with all that banging, but at least it shows the police are doing something.
“I think people know this kind of thing goes on around here. It’s no big secret.”
A middle-aged woman in the street, who also did not want to be named, added: “Police are always down here. I don’t know anything about what’s going on but nothing surprises me around here.”
Hartlepool Police’s confidential drugs line can be contacted on (01642) 302181 and Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.