Drug demand surge likely after massive heroin haul

DOCTORS are braced for a surge in demand from drug addicts seeking methadone in the wake of the biggest seizure of heroin ever made in the Lothians.

Officers recovered nearly 2 million worth of the Class A drug during a raid on a first-floor flat in Sighthill in the early hours of Thursday morning.

NHS Lothian said they had services in place to deal with those "affected by the police operation", who would need to receive healthcare support.

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Police chiefs also pledged to work with healthcare professionals to help addicts who may face drug shortages due to the massive haul being taken off the streets.

Senior officers have admitted they were surprised by the extent of the heroin discovered in the flat in Sighthill View, but said they would be working to ensure vulnerable people would not be left without care.

The force usually works with health agencies and social workers days in advance of planned operations targeting dealers to put a support network in place.

A police spokeswoman said: "We have been in touch with our partners in the NHS and social care to make sure services are in place following the operation.

"This was a huge single recovery to make rather than part of a bigger operation covering a larger area. Nothing was set up beforehand with regards to healthcare, but because of our good relationships with partner agencies we are able to offer support to those who want it."

The force hopes that by working with health professionals and other support groups they can encourage drug users to seek treatment for their addictions.

Dr Fiona Watson, clinical director of NHS Lothian's community drug problem service, said: "Services are available to ensure people who have been affected by the police operation get the healthcare support they need. Anyone who needs help should contact their GP or local drug and alcohol agency as soon as possible."

Dozens of officers swooped on the first-floor flat in Sighthill View shortly after midnight on Thursday as part of an intelligence-led operation.

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Officers in body armour broke down the side door of the flat with a battering ram before discovering the huge amount of heroin being stored in the property.

Three men have appeared in court in connection with the drugs raid.

Kris Brown, 28, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court alongside Lee Knott and William Hunter, both 21, charged in connection with drugs offences.

The men made no plea and no declaration, and were released on bail pending further court action.