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Police drugs sweep in Whitechapel also bags £20,000 of fake mobile phones

PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 December 2019

Police and council enforcement officers in joint olperation at Whitechapel Market. Picture: LBTH

Police and council enforcement officers in joint olperation at Whitechapel Market. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

A sweep against organised crime and drugs on the streets of Whitechapel has been carried out by police and local authorities following tip-offs from the public.

Council enforcement officers join police in Whitechapel Market where fake brand mobile phones have been seized. Picture: LBTHCouncil enforcement officers join police in Whitechapel Market where fake brand mobile phones have been seized. Picture: LBTH

It targeted known suspects and premises based on information received about criminal activity and anti-social behaviour which also involved seizing fake goods sold to the public.

Officers issued 25 ASB warnings and five community protection warnings for drugs.

"We take these matters seriously," Met Police Chief Insp Dominic Barnes said. "This operation was about tackling public concerns showing that we will do everything we can to provide a safe environment."

But the sweep, codenamed Operation Continuum Plus, didn't just tackle street crime. Some 32 fake mobile devices were seized from a market stall and a shop, as well as £20,000 worth of counterfeit phones and accessories from another shop and alcohol and cannabis from people on the street.

Officers in Whitechapel drugs seacth operation where anti-social orders were issued. Picture: LBTHOfficers in Whitechapel drugs seacth operation where anti-social orders were issued. Picture: LBTH

The move also involved Tower Hamlets Council enforcement officers. Three penalty notices were issued for unlicensed street trading, four notices for unlawful disposal of waste and 17 parking tickets. One shop was selling alcohol without a licence.

Five vulnerable homeless people on the streets were offered help and three people were referred to the council's drug intervention programme.

But the main target was the yob culture that has plagued Whitechapel and a warning issued from the authorities about "zero tolerance".

Mayor John Biggs said: "We send a clear message to those involved in crime and anti-social behaviour that we are using all our powers to crack down and will continue targeting people intent on breaking the law."

It is the first time other public services have joined the council and Met Police in a co-ordinated operation to tackle yob culture based on tip-offs from the public.

More operations are planned in the new year targeting "hotbed" locations where complaints are received about criminal activity.

Deputy mayor Asma Begum said: "We will continue to remove offenders from the streets and have taken action against some of those perpetrators."

Organisations involved in the operation with the police and town hall included the fire brigade, Immigration Service, St Mungo's and Tower Hamlets Homes.

The sweep follows the successful Operation Continuum launched a year ago to disrupt the street drugs trade which has led to 234 arrests since the beginning of 2019 and £686,000 cash being confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.


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