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Local News

Dramatic moment police bash down door and arrest man in surprise drug raid sting

today25/11/2021

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Police made a number of arrests in Barnsley yesterday, after a series of drug busts across the town.

Yesterday, Thursday, November 24, saw officers from South Yorkshire come together for Operation Duxford, a day of action disrupting criminal activity within communities in the county.

The focus of yesterday’s operation, in Barnsley, was tackling organised crime groups (OCGs) that are operating in the area.

For more crime news from YorkshireLive, click here.

A series of drug busts that were executed across the town culminated in the seizure of class a drugs and weapons, along with the arrests of a number of suspects.

YorkshireLive were invited to join South Yorkshire Police as they executed some of these warrants, in the Hoyland area of Barnsley.

To get the latest email updates from Yorkshire Live, click here .

The first, in a quiet residential area full of family homes, came as a surprise to one of the neighbours, who told our reporter that “it’s very rare” to have police in the area.

The resident, who did not want to be named, said: “This bust has been coming for a while, I know that lots of people have reported [the suspect].”

When police arrived with a warrant, the suspect was not at home but they were able to search the property and, initially, found just a small bag of “personal use” cannabis.

But, when the sniffer dog – trained to detect drugs, guns and money – was brought out, she quickly led police to a gun that had been hidden in a garden shed.

“We’ll be at the location for longer now, as scenes of crime will need to arrive and secure the scene”, PC Mark Jagger said.

PC Jagger, who usually works as an Integrated Offender Management officer – helping offenders to turn their life around – had headed out with the team executing warrants across Barnsley yesterday, and was on hand to answer some of our reporter’s questions.



Officers from South Yorkshire Police executing the first drugs warrant, in Hoyland
Officers from South Yorkshire Police executing the first drugs warrant, in Hoyland

“There are around six or seven OCGs in Barnsley operating at the moment”, PC Jagger said, adding that Hoyland is “one of the main areas” for organised criminal activity in the town.

But Chief Superintendent of South Yorkshire Police and District Commander for Barnsley, James Abdy, said that – despite this number – Barnsley does not suffer the same levels of violent crime as some other small towns.

He told YorkshireLive: “Barnsley’s a very, very comparatively safe place to live, to work and we don’t, as a general rule, experience the levels of serious violence that you see in some other towns and in other cities.

“But, as other towns will have, we have an element within society that are intent on making money and profiting from organised crime and, as a consequence of that, we make sure that our officers, locally, focus on that problem and try to understand the specifics of where it’s happening.

“Where we become aware of that, we take targetted action to tackle that problem.”

The second drugs bust that YorkshireLive witnessed yesterday, not far from the first, was in an area well-known to police – as there are a number of known offenders living in the area.

For this bust, officers knew that the element of surprise would be crucial in securing an arrest and making sure that incriminating substances were not destroyed before they had a chance to search the premises.

Officers, armed with ‘the Enforcer’ – a battering ram capable of applying more than three tonnes of impact to a front door – forced entry to a council flat and were quickly able to apprehend their suspect – shortly after another had attempted to flee.

On search of the premises, drugs and weapons – including two knives – were seized, with one found stashed underneath a mattress.



A suspect being arrested after drugs and weapons were found in a council flat
A suspect being arrested after drugs and weapons were found in a council flat

This same council estate, which smelled strongly of pungent cannabis – clearly being grown nearby – was also the location of two other warrants, with the off-road bike team from South Yorkshire Police also in attendance to ensure that no suspects were able to make a quick getaway.

It had been a quiet and uneventful day before South Yorkshire Police arrived, bringing with them all the noise and commotion of a drugs raid, but one neighbour was not fazed by the activity.

“I’m just sick of it”, she told YorkshireLive, “it always happens, it used to be that side [she gestures to a block of flats opposite] and it used to be downstairs and recently it’s moved up here. I grew up on council estates so this is like the norm.”



Weapons found during the second raid
Weapons found during the second raid

The neighbour, who did not want to be named, continued: “When I first moved here it wasn’t like this and then, just after the lockdown, that’s when it all began. So, obviously, you can see that some flats are boarded up…”

Officers remained on the scene for some time as they thoroughly searched the three premises, with at least one suspect arrested at the scene and taken back to Barnsley Central Police Station.

Discussing the impact that organised crime like this can have on communities, Chief Superintendent Abdy said: “From a public perspective, understanding and hearing that organised criminals may be operating in your area is clearly something that’s concerning.

“But, from a police perspective, we’re trying to be open and transparent that there is a problem here and this isn’t a problem that’s unique to Barnsley, it’s not a problem that’s unique to South Yorkshire: it’s a problem that’s unique across society, really.

“The government have a clear strategy on serious and organised crime because of the impact and the harm that it causes across the UK. And, as a policing district, we play our part in delivery of that by focusing on those criminals that form part of an organised crime group.”



PC Mark Jagger (right) was on hand to assist with warrants
PC Mark Jagger (right) was on hand to assist with warrants

But it was not just residential areas where officers were busy disrupting crime yesterday.

Back in the town centre, officers on their daily patrols were also seizing drugs and disrupting criminal activity.

PC Thornton and PC Austin, from Barnsley’s Central Policing team, had not long started their patrol of the town centre when they had cause to stop two men, both of whom were found with spice, a synthetic cannibinoid and class b drug.

“The town centre is known as a hotspot for drugs anyway”, PC Austin said, as PC Thornton produced the bag of drugs – which looked very much like cannabis – and told our reporter that it was “about a fiver’s worth”.

He said: “Spice is so popular because it’s so cheap. They’ll have a very, very quick hit with it, which will usually last between 30 minutes and an hour. I’ve been told that they’ll get the same high from it as a class a drug.

“It’s the number one drug in most town centres, especially Barnsley, because it’s so cheap and accessible; it’s easy to take and easy to conceal.”



A bag of spice, seized in Barnsley town centre yesterday (November 24)
A bag of spice, seized in Barnsley town centre yesterday (November 24)

Their patrol, though a normal part of their day, had also formed part of Operation Duxford yesterday as it was not just drug busts and organised crime that the police were focusing on – community engagement and a visible police presence was also a priority area.

Chief Superintendent Abdy said: “There’s been activity in neighbourhoods [yesterday] which has been focused on anti social behaviour, activity that’s been focused around reassuring the public in relation to local problems that affect their quality of life, but, at the same time, a real focus around those groups and criminals that have the greatest impact, an adverse impact, on people’s lives: and organised crime is one of those areas.

“Organised crime itself is a very broad concept and covers a range of criminality, including drugs supply, guns, a whole host of offences that are out there that people engage in.

“But we also focus heavily around offences of violence towards women and girls, domestic abuse, serious violent crime; all of these are our priority areas and, as part of our plans [yesterday] we’ve been making sure that we’ve been focused in our efforts to locate the people we need to locate, across a range of different crime types – not just one isolated one.”

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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today25/11/2021