Dawn Drugs Raids In South Wimbledon

Armed officers carry out operation on High Path estate

Crack cocaine, heroin and large amounts of cash were seized and 26 people arrested after dawn raids on the High Path estate in South Wimbledon.

Armed officers took part in the raids, which were part of Operation Burney targeting homes in Merton, Croydon, Lambeth, Wandsworth and Lewisham.

It was aimed at cracking down on gang members who had been dealing heroin and crack cocaine on the High Path estate.

The raids followed the jailing of 16 gang members and associates in June for dealing Class A drugs in around the Phipps Bridge Estate in Mitcham.

The defendants were jailed for more than 33 years following a joint operation by the London Crime Squad and Merton Borough officers.

Other activity on Thursday, which involved 160 Merton officers, included estate sweeps, mounted patrols and activities including youth engagement and property marking.

There were 26 arrests for offences ranging from fraud, conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely heroin and crack cocaine, motor vehicle offences, GBH, robbery and burglary. A quantity of drugs, cash and a new Mercedes were also seized.

All those arrested were taken to a central London police station where they remain in police custody.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Laurence, who leads the London Crime Squad, said: "Those targeted in today's coordinated operations are believed to be 'high harm' individuals and known gang members who are suspected of involvement in a series of crimes including supply of class A drugs and violence.

Chief Superintendent Darren Williams, Merton Borough Commander, said: "We have been successfully targeting gang members and their activities for a number of years, working with colleagues from across the Met, such as the London Crime Squad.

"Today's results show how our resources are being deployed across the borough to disrupt those involved in gang crime and make a dent in their network. We will continue to take robust action against gang related activity."

He joined Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond on a tour of the estate today to reassure residents. They also held street meetings with locals.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton council said: "Merton is one of the safest boroughs in London and we are proud of our long established partnership with the police. Today's event is a good example of the excellent work the police carry out in protecting our community and reinforces the success of our partnership in making Merton a safe place to live."

Merton Councillor David Simpson, Conservative Spokesman for Community Safety and Enforcement, said: "I fully support the dawn raids that took place across several boroughs in South West London today to arrest 23 drug dealers, some of whom have been dealing in cocaine and heroin on the High Path Estate in South Wimbledon.

"We all hope that the arrest of these dealers will help to bring a cleaner and more peaceful life for local residents of High Path and importantly not only reduce crime in the locality but also the fear of crime."

September 20, 2013