Dawn police raid in Hester's Way discovers supected cocaine
WASTELAND has been swept by police after they swooped on three houses in Hester's Way as part of a dawn drugs raid.
More than 30 officers were involved in the operation, which resulted in four arrests and the seizure of several thousand pounds worth of cash and a bag of suspected cocaine.
The police, storming the area in a convoy of nine vehicles, executed four search warrants simultaneously at two properties in Ashlands Road, a house in Lipson Road and a piece of nearby gated land at 7am.
The wasteland, which is owned by Cheltenham Borough Council and is covered in brambles and rubbish, is behind a row of houses in Lipson Road.
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A handful of officers searched the land for more than four hours, hacking their way through the undergrowth using wooden poles to look for contraband.
Specialist police dogs were also involved in the hunt.
Following the raids, a 32-year-old man was arrested in Lipson Road on suspicion of possession of Class B drugs and on suspicion of money laundering.
A 28-year-old woman was also arrested in Lipson Road on suspicion of money laundering.
Meanwhile, in Ashlands Road, a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class B drugs and a 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Police seized several thousands of pounds during the operation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Officers also found a bag of suspected cocaine hidden in the wasteland. They estimate if tests prove it is the Class A drug, the find would have a street value of around £4,500.
The white powder will now be forensically examined to establish exactly what it is and to discover its origins.
Detective Inspector Ian Fletcher, the head of Gloucestershire police's new Force Crime Operation Team, led the operation.
He said the police action would have sent a very clear message to criminals.
He said: "The purpose of this operation was to take direct action against persons who are causing significant harm to the local community, acting upon information received from the community.
"The Force Crime Operation Team is a newly formed team within Gloucestershire police which is looking to target those offenders causing the most harm and it will take further action upon all information received.
"I would actively encourage members of the public to report criminality taking place within their community in order to help us to have a positive effect and to make Gloucestershire a safer and happier place to live.
"This action sends a clear message to the criminals of Cheltenham that drug dealers and other related criminality will not be tolerated."