Gang up in court suspected of dealing party drugs at bars in Leeds city centre
Police have charged 18 men and arrested another three on suspicion of supplying the Leeds party scene with cocaine and ketamine.
They've launched a major operation targeting dealing in the city centre's nightspots during the Christmas party season.
So far there have been 21 arrests, with 18 men charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Leeds bars could pay for late-night policingThis morning the 21st arrest was made in New Farnley when police raided a suspected dealer's house and arrested a 30-year-old man on suspicion of supply and money laundering. Class A drugs, paraphernalia and other goods were recovered. He remains in custody.
Leeds wins Purple Flag status for a safe night outThe 18 charged have already appeared at court. Ten have been remanded in custody and eight are on conditional bail from court with exclusion orders from the city centre. Two other men are currently on police bail following their arrests.
The wider operation has targeted the supply of cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine and other ‘party drugs’ being sold on streets around some of the city centre’s main bar and club areas.
It comes in response to information received from city centre residents and owners of bars and clubs about an increase in street-level dealing to revellers.
Door staff and managers have reported being threatened and assaulted when challenging those involved and there were concerns for the safety of customers and staff.
There has also been an increase in the number of assaults, robberies and thefts from people, which is believed to be linked to the increased drug-dealing activity.
Detectives from Leeds District Serious Organised Crime Unit and specialist officers from West Yorkshire Police Protective Services Crime deployed a range of tactics to build up a picture of the dealing activity on the ground before making the arrests.
Detective Superintendent Chris Gibson, Head of Crime for Leeds District, said:
“We are confident that this operation will have dealt a significant blow to the organised supply of illegal drugs in the city centre’s night-time economy.
“We cannot and will not tolerate illegal activity which puts people at risk, leads to an increase in other types of offences and reduces people’s feelings of safety while enjoying a night out.
“We remain firmly committed to making use of every available tactic to target those we suspect of being involved in the organised supply of drugs, and we will continue to work alongside our partner agencies, businesses and the community to tackle this type of criminality and keep people safe.”