‘I’m struck dumb by number of officers’
EXPRESS reporter Stuart Greer joined police for the operation. Here he gives a first-hand account of the raids. AS a newspaper reporter early starts are nothing new, but this 5am alarm call brought a mixture of mystery, excitement and danger.
I was among a small number of journalists invited by Cheshire Police to witness the next phase of Operation Impact, aimed at clamping down on the supply of drugs in Cheshire.
I was given only a vague idea of what would be happening but was urged – because of the Express’s coverage of Cheshire Police’s on going war against drugs in the town – that it would be worth my while.
By 5.45am I find myself at a secret location outside Macclesfield in a large queue of police vans – the first indication that something big was about to happen.
I am ushered into a hall where I am struck dumb by the staggering number of police, some in full combat gear, others in plain clothes and body armour.
Without much delay police bosses lay out the reasons for the raids and the plan to smash their way through dozens of doors across three counties. I am whisked off to one of the houses in Macclesfield which are the focus of the drugs raids.
The only people on the streets are joggers, dog walkers and pensioners carrying newspapers back from the newsagents. The sight of fast-moving stream of police vans stops them all in their tracks.
Before the vehicle has come to a complete stop officers are out, racing to the front door with battering rams, shouting their arrival. The sound of the front door being smashed open echoes around the estate and lights in bedrooms urgently flicker on.
There are shouts of disapproval from occupants awakened nearby.
Elsewhere in the town there are similar scenes of shattered doors, handcuffed suspects bundled into unmarked cars and sniffer dogs searching houses while officers reassure neighbours who are out on their doorsteps in their nightwear.
It’s an unique experience to see years worth of dangerous work, expertly executed in the blink of an eye.