Police seized Class A drugs and cash and arrested multiple people during eight simultaneous warrants in Hastings this week.
The enforcement action comes as the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) launch two new operations in the town, aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) and drug-related crime.
Covering the Brendon Rise and Broomgrove Estate area, Operation Baird specifically looks to deal with the theft and illegal use of motorcycles, drug use and supply, exploitation of young people into organised crime groups, and cuckooing.
Meanwhile in the town centre, Operation Castle focusses on addressing shoplifting and business burglary.
The operations are three-fold, consisting of dedicated Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) and Police Constable (PC) foot patrols, operational activity such as warrants and cuckooing checks, and long-term regeneration work with partners.
On Tuesday (23 January), officers conducted the warrants in the Brendon Rise area to tackle an identified county drug line linked to significant harm and related ASB in the vicinity. Led and organised by the Project ADDER team, the raids aimed to disrupt the drug-related harm and provide an opportunity for police and partner agencies to engage with vulnerable adults and children.
Officers made six arrests in relation to the supply of drugs, assault, cuckooing, and modern-day slavery offences, and seized over £15,000 of cash, two gas powered firearms, and a significant quantity of uncut cocaine and heroin. Three dogs were also seized under the dangerous dogs act and are being housed in a secure kennelling facility.
Regular patrols continue and work is underway to improve this area and reduce opportunities to offend. Working with local partners, trees and plants will be planted along pathways to create chicanes, to deter the use of motorcycles, and around council-owned walls where groups currently congregate.
This will complement the ongoing work of Project ADDER (Addiction, Disruption, Diversion, Enforcement, Recovery), a government initiative currently running in Hastings with the support of Sussex Police, East Sussex County Council and local health services. It sees local teams work together on a variety of engagement, education and enforcement activity and since launching the project two years ago, drug-related deaths in Hastings have fallen from 15 in 2020/21 to 11 in 2022/23.
Following the success in Eastbourne and Crawley, the town centre will receive an engagement hub at the end of February. The pod will be used by various policing teams and partner agencies, providing a high-visibility presence and an important base for engagement with the public throughout Operation Castle.
It will be a space for members of the community to readily access officers and partners for support and advice on crime prevention, personal safety, and community issues, whilst the NPT continue to patrol the town centre and respond to ASB and drug-related crime.
Chief Inspector Jay Mendis, Hastings and Rother District Commander, said: “Anti-social behaviour can and does have a huge impact on communities, affecting an individual’s emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing.
“The behaviour can take many forms and we know that it requires more than patrols and warrants to tackle it, hence our commitment to long-term action and solutions.
“The public are our eyes and ears and we urge anyone with information or concerns to report to police to help us build a bigger picture of trends in the local area.”