Overheard phone call lands two drug dealers in jail after ‘Operation Shadow’ police trap in Bethnal Green

Secluded Shaklewell Street... where detectives lay in wait for drug dealers' redezvous in Operation

Secluded Shaklewell Street... where detectives lay in wait for drug dealers' redezvous in Operation Shadow. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

An overheard call from a public phone kiosk about a planned drugs deal going down in Bethnal Green has led to two men being jailed for a total of nine years between them.

Their arrests were part of a 10-day Met Police ‘Operation Shadow’ to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour on housing estates, when detectives laid in wait for them.

The officers kept hidden near the planned rendezvous in the narrow Shacklewell Street, a secluded cobbled backwater tucked behind Bethnal Green Road, until the men turned up—and closed in.

Lee Wayne Carpenter and Juel Ahmed were caught after a tip off to police.

A housing estate official and a security guard overheard their phone message while passing the BT kiosk in Bethnal Green Road when they smelt a rat and contacted police.

They later gave evidence in court which the housing organisation says helped to convict the two men.

“Drug dealers should stay away from our council housing estates,” Tower Hamlets Homes’ chief executive Susmita Sen warned. “We’ll stop at nothing to end the misery caused to residents.

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“One overheard conversation has ended up with two of them in prison for a long time.”

Carpenter, 29, from Nelson Gardens in Bethnal Green, and Ahmed, 23, from Salmon Lane in Limehouse, were each jailed for four years and six months when they were convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court for supplying a Class A drug.

Their arrests were part of the intelligence-led Operation Shadow set up by the Met Police in response to public fears about drug dealers who plague Bethnal Green’s housing estates.

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said after the court case: “These prison sentences send a strong message that criminals can and will be caught. Our partnership with the police is making a difference in tackling crime on our estates.”

A team of 14 Met Police officers have been working with the housing organisation for the past 12 months. The partnership also includes Parkguard security services which operate high-profile visibility patrols to give public reassurance on the streets, which are accredited by Scotland Yard under the Community Safety scheme.