POLICE teams have raided four suspected drug dealers in a surprise early-morning swoop at a high-rise block in Leith.
Around 30 officers – some wearing protective helmets and wielding battering rams – burst into flats in Cables Wynd House at around 8am yesterday, arresting two men aged 35 and 43 for drugs offences.
The police operation is part of a wider bid to build bridges with the community, boost intelligence and troubleshoot social problems within the area.
A sizeable presence of police officers, fire crews and community development workers will remain in the district until Friday, with street surgeries being held to resolve local issues.
It comes one year after a similar operation in Wester Hailes was deemed a success and marks a new style of policing and community engagement.
One witness, who declined to be identified, said: “There was a team of about seven policemen wearing heavy armoured gear bursting into one flat with a ram to batter down the door. They flew in after the door banged open and were shouting at whoever was inside. It looked like they knew what they were after.”
Sergeant Neil Thomson, of Leith Community Policing Team, spearheaded the raids and said although not an intelligence-gathering exercise, any useful information would be fed back for on-the-ground officers to progress.
He said: “We are sending out a clear signal to those who get involved in crime that we are in the area, we are watching and we do take action.
“On the back of that we are trying to get the trust of the community and get them to give us information about any problems in the area, and with our partners we can identify the best agency to resolve that problem.
“The targeted raids are to identify offenders and bring them to justice but also to build up existing relationships with the community, forge new ones and strengthen those that are starting to weaken.
“Following recent dialogue with the Cables Wynd community, we established that drug crime and antisocial behaviour were among the problems affecting the area.
“Any issues that are brought to our attention will be dealt with appropriately.
Councillor Cammy Day, the city’s community safety leader, said: “Drug abuse can seriously blight communities and often leads to an increase in crime and general antisocial behaviour.
“By working with our partner agencies and local residents, we can identify exactly where these problems exist and address them to make Leith a safer place for everyone.
“Anyone in the local area with information or suggestions that might be helpful should get in touch. This feedback is invaluable and can help us to make a real difference.”