Roaring chainsaws are the latest tool in the police arsenal against drugs - being used to cut through doors in a wave of dawn raids on suspected drug dealers.
Those believed to be peddling the misery of drugs across South Yorkshire got a shock awakening yesterday.
Officers pulled the cord on their chainsaws as they marched into streets for the culmination of Operation Catchall, a top secret six-month crackdown on heroin, cocaine, Mkat, amphetamine and cannabis.
Specialist ‘rapid entry search teams’ wielding power tools burst into homes at first light in synchronised 6.30am raids in Eastwood, Rotherham.
Operation Catchall had been so hush-hush even some South Yorkshire Police colleagues hadn’t heard of it.
The arrests phase yesterday followed a raid on Hatherley Road, Eastwood, on Monday afternoon, in which officers booked an Iranian man, a Slovakian woman and an Eastwood man on suspicion of drugs supply. They remained in custody yesterday.
Yesterday’s raids led to three further arrests, after officers forced entry into another house on Hatherley Road and into properties on neighbouring Selwyn Street, Coleridge Road, Jennings Close and Weetwood Road. A house on Town Street, Tinsley, Sheffield, was also searched.
Det Chf Insp Bob Chapman, who oversaw Operation Catchall, said the work was aimed at stopping street-level dealers whom desperate addicts were travelling to see at all times of the day and night.
“If you are a drug user you know who to go to, and these people make themselves available,” he said.
Six months of work led to the operation in Rotherham, which suffers the blight of drugs even more so than elsewhere, police revealed.
“Rotherham has a disproportionate drug issue - we drug-test everyone in custody and are way above national average,” he said.
Supt Paul McCurry said Operation Catchall had been so top-secret not many fellow officers had been aware of it.
“The first phase involved a small team gathering evidence - a team very few people in the force knew about,” he said. “Phase two is keeping drugs out of Eastwood, and issues around the causes of drug dealing and use.”