500 police swoop on Chapeltown

BY DAVID BRUCE CHIEF CRIME REPORTER ALMOST 500 police officers took part today in a huge drugs operation to wipe out street dealers in a Leeds suburb.

Officers - including firearms units - were drawn from across West Yorkshire to take part in the crackdown in Chapeltown.

Drugs sniffer dogs were among the specialist units involved.

Convoys of police vehicles began arriving in Chapeltown at 4am and addresses raided. By 9am more than 40 arrests had already been made.

Assistant Chief Constable John Sampson said it was the biggest-ever operation mounted in the county, designed to rid the community of street dealers bringing misery and violence to the district.

Sources told the YEP that because the operation was aimed principally at street dealers, they did not expect to seize particularly large amounts of drugs. Teams of officers moved in on addresses across the Chapeltown area but spreading into Harehills.

Today's operation comes as police in the Chapeltown division - in a separate crackdown - continue to hunt a number of suspects involved in drugs and gun crime. The YEP revealed last week that officers were hunting a hardcore of 10 suspects. Chapeltown Divisional commander Chief Supt Howard Crowther said at the time the suspects were wanted over armed raids, drugs and firearms offences.

The men were known to reside in, or have links with, the Chapeltown area - and urged the men to hand themselves in to avoid "confrontation" on the streets. Arrests have already been made as part of that operation.

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