Drugs raid arrests


[from Islington Gazette]

Drugs raid arrests

nlnews@archant.co.uk
21 November 2008

A DRUGS laboratory and cannabis shop operating from a disused barber’s shop was busted by police officers.

The Gazette was on the scene as part of Islington’s drug scene was exposed by police with rams and buzz saws.

They smashed into Firm Cut barbers in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, where they found barbers’ chairs, shampoos and mirrors still in place. A sturdy steel wall protected the drug lair further inside the building and police used a disc cutter to saw through it in a shower of sparks.

They found hundreds of bags of cannabis ready to be sold for £10 or £20. It is thought 40 customers an hour were being served – equivalent to an annual revenue of £1.7million.

The drugs were being handed through a small opening in the steel wall. The facility was also protected by CCTV cameras giving views of the shop and street outside.

Sergeant Chris Walsh of the Finsbury Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: “We have taken decisive action against premises believed to be supplying cannabis and disrupted more serious offences – the manufacture of Class A drugs.”

He added: “No-one has had their hair cut in there for a very long time.”

One of two men arrested tried to flee officers, eventually making his way on to the roof. He then jumped, landing on a parked car which was being repaired, before giving himself up.

A drug dog then discovered another false wall and when officers smashed it open they discovered a fully functioning drug laboratory with white powder being made in glass vials. Neighbouring houses were evacuated until police checked the chemicals were not dangerous.

Earlier in the day police raided another cannabis store hidden inside an apparently abandoned shop in Hornsey Road. Customers visited 12 hours a day to receive drugs through a small hatch.

The occupants had made a safe room with sheets of steel and locked themselves in when police arrived. But when they realised they were surrounded they opened up the fortress and were found to be in possession of cannabis and crack. A dog control officer had to remove a rotweiller.

PC Rob Whewell said: “It was a sophisticated cannabis café selling drugs to the community with no regard for the law. People were coming from all across London to buy drugs there.”

Islington borough commander Bob Carr hailed the operations as a “huge success”.

[from This is London]

Police smash £1m-a-week drugs ring

Justin Davenport, Crime Correspondent
21.11.08

POLICE have smashed a drugs gang that made £1million a week by running a cannabis distribution racket with a fleet of wholesale flower delivery vans.

A total of 14 people were held in raids at 35 addresses across London and the South-East in an operation involving four police forces.

At one lock-up in Kingston, Met detectives found £1million in cash. The gang distributed cannabis throughout the South-East after importing it from Holland hidden in the wholesale flower delivery containers.

Police seized 50 kilos of the drug yesterday but have already recovered about 1,000 kilos in previous raids.

Two men have been arrested after a police raid on a barber’s shop in Finsbury Park suspected of being a crystal meth factory.

[from This is London]

Police raid crystal meth factory in barber’s shop

Justin Davenport, Crime Correspondent
21.11.08

TWO men have been arrested after police swooped on a barber’s shop in north London suspected of being a crystal meth factory.

Officers uncovered a hidden partition during the raid which concealed a series of “plastic vials” believed to contain the highly addictive Class A drug.

The swoop on the Firm Cuts Gents Hairdressers in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, took place on Wednesday when officers also found a quantity of crack cocaine and a large amount of skunk cannabis.

Today the street was sealed off as officers in special chemical protection suits removed the dangerous substances. The premises are believed to be only the second crystal meth factory raided in London.

One local resident said: “The barber’s shop always had its blinds down and no one ever seemed to use it as a hairdressers. You saw people going in and out at all times of the night.” The drug has been described as the world’s most dangerous and addictive substance and its use has reached epidemic proportions in the US.

Two years ago senior police officers in Britain warned that it could sweep this country. Crystal meth – also known as Nazi crank, ice, tweak and tina – is a form of amphetamine crystallised so it can be smoked. The chemicals needed to manufacture it are readily available, making it cheap for everyone.

The operation was launched after complaints from the local community.

[from Islington Tribune]

Islington Tribune – by ROISIN GADELRAB
Published: 21 November 2008
Sgt Chris Walsh with bags of drugs found inside the Firm Cut shop
Sgt Chris Walsh with bags of drugs found inside the Firm Cut shop

DRUGS LAB AT BARBER SHOP

Police uncover Class A substance production in raid on hair salon

POLICE have uncovered what is believed to be the first synthetic drugs laboratory found operating in Islington – hidden in the back of a barber shop.
The Tribune accompanied around 30 officers as they raided Firm Cut on Seven Sisters Road, taking just 90 seconds to saw through a steel wall to uncover what is believed to be a cannabis supply shop and Class A drugs factory. From the outside, the premises looks like a hair salon, complete with swivel chairs, mirrors, hair gel and a blackboard, but according to police no one has had their hair cut there for a long time.
Officers from Tollington and Finsbury Park Safer Neighbourhoods teams raided the premises on Wednesday, with the help of Territorial Support Group (TSG) officers after neighbours complained it was being used as a cannabis shop.
They discovered vials of chemicals and equipment, believed to be part of a class A synthetic drugs factory.
The shop and neighbouring properties were immediately evacuated and part of the street cordoned off amid fears the chemicals could be hazardous.
All officers were immediately ordered to remove their outer clothes and take showers to decontaminate.
Officers in riot gear stormed the barber shop while rush-hour commuters looked on in shock.
The shop was empty, but officers drilled through the back wall to uncover a room containing a large quantity of bags of what is believed to be cannabis separated into £10 doses.
According to police, customers would come from all over London to buy cannabis from the shop, paying for the goods in multiples of £10 through a tiny hole in the shop’s metal wall.
No conversation would take place and a hand would appear to dish out the drugs.
But Sgt Chris Walsh, of Tollington and Finsbury Park SNT, said he had no idea the shop was also hiding what they say is a class A drugs factory.
He said: “We had no intelligence or information at all that this was going on.
“We went in solely because of complaints of anti-social behaviour and cannabis dealing. We thought it was purely class C drugs, something the Safer Neighbourhoods team could deal with.
“We only brought in the TSG because we knew the entry was so secure. We genuinely only thought this was to do with cannabis, but once the dust settled we realised this was something much bigger.
“In my 22 years as a police officer I’ve never come across a synthetic drugs laboratory.”
He added: “I’m astounded that we found this in Seven Sisters Road below several residential flats. There are absolutely no qualified hairdressers there. When you put your hand across the surfaces of the shop there was dust that hadn’t been disturbed for some time.”
Inspector John Frost, of Islington SNT, described the reinforced back room as a “fortress”.
A team of financial investigators is now scouring all correspondence to the address to try to track down the owners.
Detective Constable Alex Hargreaves, from Islington’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: “We’re trying to trace it back to who was bringing the merchandise in and taking the money out. We’re looking at who pays the taxes, who owns the building – there’s always a paper trail.”
He estimated the shops could have been taking upwards of £1,000 a day.
Earlier in the day officers also raided a boarded-up shop in Hornsey Road, yards from Holloway Police Station.
They found a small quantity of class A drugs believed to be crack cocaine and drug-related paraphernalia.
One man was arrested for possession of class A drugs.
Safer Neighbourhoods officers are now pursuing Drugs Closure Orders for both properties.
Islington Borough Commander Bob Carr said: “This operation has been a huge success, for the local Safer Neighbourhoods team who instigated it and the many officers who supported them. The closure of this laboratory has helped to prevent further dangerous synthetic Class A drugs contaminating the streets of London.”

• Two men have been arrested for the manufacture of Class A drugs at a shop in Seven Sisters Road. They remain in custody. One man was arrested for possession of class A drugs at a Hornsey Road shop.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. sean says:

    A great local resource…it will be missed

  2. Mary Joanna says:

    It will be missed indeed 😦

    I was actually standing outsite waiting to go in when it was raided so i had a good view of it all, and trust me, what you read isnt what happened. they didnt get through the false wall, they ran out after about 90 seconds and ran around the back. so dont trust all you read 🙂

  3. Neil says:

    More gunshots at Firm Cut last night. Since the last shooting the name had been painted over and 8 t-shirts on hangers were covering the window.

    Dozen bullet holes this morning, police cordon, anti-contamination suits, van.

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