Yesterday evening, Thursday 15 August 2019, following an intelligence-led investigation, officers from the Met police executed a search warrant in East London, targeting drug dealing and illegal drug use at a cafe premises in Limehouse known as “The Den”.
Responding to community intelligence, the Violent Crime Taskforce and Neighbourhood Policing Teams, in conjunction with NPAS and the Dog Support Unit, raided the premises under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
A significant amount of cannabis thought to be worth approximately £20,000 both loose and bagged up into single deals was seized in addition to cash, drug dealing paraphernalia and evidence of drug sales. Police and the local authority will now seek to obtain a closure order for the property.
A total of 52 people at the location were detained for searches. Several were given cannabis warnings and one man was arrested for possession of class A drugs.
Yesterday’s activities are part of Operation Continuum, a local ongoing operation tackling organised drug dealing and associated crime, and which identified individuals believed to be selling drugs in the café. Operation Continuum began 18 months ago and has already seen a number of large enforcement operations, over 350 arrests, and over £350k cash seized.
Detective Superintendent Mike Hamer, of the Central East Area, said: “Yesterday’s activity was in response to local community concerns. We want to ensure that the public feel they are being listened to, and as a result, appropriate action is taken by the police and our partners. We will now be working with our partners to secure a closure order to ensure this property will not reopen.
“Our activity will not stop here. People involved in this type of criminality should know that we will continue to deal robustly with drug dealing.
“Whilst the causes of violent crime are highly complex and wide-ranging, drug dealing is inextricably linked with a high proportion of the violence we have seen on our streets. We regularly see young people and the more vulnerable within our communities, targeted and exploited by those who seek to sell drugs, who often instigate violent acts and place young people at risk of harm and criminalisation in the process.
“Anyone who involves themselves in the illegal drugs market – be that selling, transporting or using, regardless of how frequently or infrequently and in what context, has a responsibility and is fuelling the violence and exploitation that invariably goes with it, in London and across the UK.
“There is no hiding place for those who peddle drugs. We will continue to target those involved in all aspects of the drug trade, many of whom are failing to recognise or care about the damage their activities are inflicting on society and our most vulnerable communities.”
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Our partnership work with the police is successfully interrupting the drug trade in our borough, and the anti-social behaviour that arises from it.”
“We are addressing concerns of our residents through these raids, and are investing in high quality drug treatment services and education in the borough.”
Communities have a vital role to play in tackling violent crime and community intelligence can be use to great effect to not only detect, but prevent crime. Please help us to keep London safe. If you have information about anyone who you think is selling drugs, exploiting young people or carrying weapons please let us know – you could save a life.
If you aren’t comfortable speaking directly to the police, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information. They do not ask your name or trace your call or IP address.