ELEVEN phone numbers used by drug dealing gangs in west Essex have been shut down.
Working with the telephone network companies and courts, we secured the Drug Dealing Telecommunications Restriction Orders at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court on Friday 14 May.
Operation Raptor, our team dedicated to dismantling drug gangs, applied for the orders after identifying phone numbers offering cocaine and cannabis for sale in Thurrock and Brentwood.
DS Russ Chamberlain said: “This is the first time Essex Police has applied for multiple phone lines to be closed down at the same time.
“The legislation is just one of the tactics we use to disrupt and dismantle drugs supply networks.
“Mobile phones are a vital to dealers and some lines will often make thousands of pounds a day.
“Without them, their drug dealing activity is seriously disrupted and their potential to earn money at the expense of vulnerable people is curtailed.”
As well as closing down phone lines, we are also sending SMS text messages to potential drug users to offer them help and support.
The message encourages anyone who wants help to beat substance misuse to contact Open Road, a charity that supports people with drug and alcohol addiction. It will include a link and contact number for the charity, which supports people across Essex.
We started sending the messages in March to people who have been identified following our investigations into county line drug dealers.
DS Russ Chamberlain said: “Drugs gangs exploit and groom drug users and vulnerable people, some of whom may be frightened to get help, or feel there’s no way out.
“Helping people to get out of this lifestyle and protecting those at risk of being used by gangs is absolutely vital, and we’re working closely with organisations including Open Road to offer them support to break free.”