Police in drugs swoop in Scott House, Hester's Way
SUSPECTED cocaine and cannabis have been seized in a dramatic raid at a block of flats in Hester's Way.
More than 30 officers swooped on Scott House, off Princess Elizabeth Way, yesterday.
There were shouts of "Police" and the sound of doors being smashed in as four flats were raided just after 10am.
Startled residents ventured out of their homes to watch the commotion.
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Suspected crack cocaine, which could have a street value of £200, was found in 10 bags in one flat, along with £200 worth of cannabis in 20 small bags, police said.
In another two flats, equipment used to grow cannabis, including lamps and growing tents, was discovered although no drugs were found.
A small amount of cannabis, consistent with personal use, was found in another flat, said police.
Sergeant Mark Vickers, who led the swoop named Operation Artic, said police believed the suspected cocaine was being dealt from the address it was found in.
He was pleased with the findings of the raids and said: "It was due to the concerns of the residents of Hester's Way.
"There was community intelligence to suggest drug dealing was taking place in Scott House.
"We will not tolerate drug dealing and we will react to the concerns of the community when they bring it to our attention. I hope we have reassured residents that we will address their concerns and it sends a message out to people involved in dealing drugs that we will come."
A 41-year-old woman was arrested for possession of cannabis and given a warning.
A 45-year-old woman, who was not an occupant of any of the raided flats, was arrested for a public order offence and issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80.
Nick Jermyn, safer estates officer at Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH), was invited to watch the operation.
He said: "It's exceptionally important for us to work with the police. We spend a lot of time and effort, with the vast majority of good residents of Hester's Way improving the community.
"Any information we have which relates to criminal activity, we will liaise with the police."
He said there had been many improvements to the outdoor areas of Scott House, with residents maintaining it themselves.
In a statement, Paul Stephenson, chief executive at CBH, added: "These raids send out a clear message that we will not tolerate drug activity in our properties.
"We have a responsibility towards our tenants to make sure that they feel safe and protected in their homes and we will continue to work closely with the police to ensure this.
"I want to remind tenants that if a court finds them guilty of drug use then we have the power to apply for possession of the property."
A 50-year-old woman, who lives in Scott House, was surprised to see the police as she says the block has improved.
The resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "It has been very quiet here recently – we are coming up in the world. We have got a nice garden and the community is good. It's a bit of a shock to see this – it didn't use to be like this 10 years ago."
But a 26-year-old female resident, who didn't want to be named, said: "The police are always around here, one way or another. It's a horrible place."