Norfolk Police arrested 22 people as part of a multi-agency operation against drug related crime in the county but warn it is just the tip of the iceberg.
The three-week Operation Gravity targeted the most serious offenders involved in dealing and transportation of Class A drugs around the county and has seen police and partners taking action to prevent drugs reaching the streets.
Police say thousands of pounds of Class A drugs have been seized.
T/ACC Mike Fawcett, who leads on local policing, said: “This operation is a direct response to an increase in the number of violent offences linked to illegal drugs activity in the county.
“These arrests are just the beginning and anyone involved in drug related crime should be warned that we won’t be knocking on the door nicely. We intend to give you a wake-up call you won’t forget in a hurry.
“However, Operation Gravity, will not only be about targeting criminals who have been travelling into Norfolk from places such as London but also, equally importantly; it’s about supporting those vulnerable members of our communities who have been taken advantage of.
“Drug dealers use a range of tactics such as violence or exploiting vulnerable individuals by taking over their homes – known as ‘cuckooing’.
“They also prey on adolescents, some of whom are already involved in the drugs lifestyle either directly or through their family, by getting them to conceal the drugs.
“We know that to end the cycle of violence we need to support those caught up in this type of criminality and we have to approach these issues from a multitude of angles.”
A multi-agency approach involved partner agencies from Children’s Services, Adult Services and Youth Offending Teams, to the NHS, housing authorities, councils, landlords and drug rehabilitation organisations.
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green backed the campaign saying: “To anyone who might mistakenly see our county as some kind of soft option the message is clear – forget it.
“Norfolk is working together to help rid our county of this scourge and also, importantly, to offer support for those who may be caught up somehow in criminality linked to drugs and are suffering the consequences.”