Police raid cannabis cafe in 200-year-old Whitechapel building
- Credit: Rehan Jamil
A raid by 24 police officers on a 200-year-old building in Whitechapel, in the early hours of Friday, February 12 revealed a nightclub-style cannabis café.
In a joint operation with police, Tower Hamlets Homes (THH) followed up on a tip-off from a resident on the Chicksand Estate. Residents had been concerned about frequent late night visitors and associated Covid risks of groups congregating.
Officers from THH Homes’ dedicated police team were joined by Met Police to raid the premises. One person, who appeared to be in charge and was found in possession of a firearm, was arrested. A quantity of drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized, and a closure notice on the premises issued.
During the operation, a group of six café customers entered, found the police there and attempted to run away. One man was issued with a Covid fine, after telling police that he was “from Barking and just here to chill with my mates”.
The building was formerly home to a school and youth services.
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Officers from Tower Hamlets Homes, the police, and mounted police officers, have been carrying out patrols across Tower Hamlets Homes managed estates today "as a visible reassurance to residents".
Susmita Sen, chief executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, said:
“Coronavirus has made things tougher for all of us, but we won’t allow residents on our estates to be subject not just to anti-social behaviour, but also Covid risks. We will continue to work with our partners on operations like this and crack down on those who disregard the law.”
Mayor John Biggs said: “We know that our residents are concerned about drug dealing and taking, which is why we conduct these partnership operations. I want all residents to be assured that despite lockdown restrictions, we will continue to target individuals committing crimes in our borough”
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Supt Andy Port added: “I hope this demonstrates that we will not tolerate illegal activity like this blighting the lives of the local community. My officers will continue to patrol the borough to enforce the Covid legislation where necessary.”
On January 28, police raided a suspected cannabis cafe in Shadwell.