Drugs worth Â£1m seized from South Yorkshire community
Drugs worth Â£1 million have been seized by officers trying to help improve life in a troubled South Yorkshire community.
A specialist team of four officers seized around 1,200 cannabis plants from homes across Eastwood in Rotherham over the last three months.
They carried out 16 raids at suspected drug dens in the community and made 37 arrests.
The blitz on drugs formed part of an operation aimed at improving the quality of life for residents in Eastwood, which is plagued by crime and anti-social behaviour.
Rotherham Council devised a three-month plan for partners to address 'quality of life issues' in Eastwood, with South Yorkshire Police tasked with law enforcement.
Temporary Inspector David Struggles, who runs the new police team, said officers spent time listening to the concerns of local residents and following up tip-offs to make arrests.
He said drugs, anti-social behaviour, vehicle licensing and community cohesion issues were among those dealt with by officers in the three-month blitz, with the council concentrating on improving the environment, working with young people, restoring pride in the area and encouraging people to invest in the community.
Insp Struggles said Eastwood is a deprived community, with agencies committed to working together to improve life for residents.
The initial three-month project has concluded, but the police team is still based there for now pending the outcome of a South Yorkshire Police re-structure, with the new Chief Constable, Stephen Watson, committed to improving neighbourhood policing.
"The Eastwood project was about partners concentrating on quality of life issues, such as criminal activity, drugs, anti-social behaviour, social deprivation and community cohesion," said Temporary Inspector Struggles.
"The police strand involved us tackling anti-social behaviour and criminality in all its forms and we were able to do this through having a dedicated visible and accessible team in the community.
"Initial results show a 28 per cent decrease in anti-social behaviour and the seizure of £1 million worth of cannabis plants.
"The community said to us what the issues were and how they were affecting them and we developed all the intelligence and information we received which allowed us to execute warrants and make arrests. Engagement with the community was key to the success of this."
Anyone with information on crime in Eastwood should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.