‘I’m struck dumb by num­ber of of­fi­cers’

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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