Seven charged with drugs conspiracy in police crackdown on lethal highs

Police use a battering ram to raid the home of one suspected dealer. Pic: Northumbria Police.
Police use a battering ram to raid the home of one suspected dealer. Pic: Northumbria Police.

Police have charged seven people in a crackdown on drug dealers after a series of early morning raids.

A six-month operation came to fruition yesterday when specialist officers raided two addresses linked to the supply of lethal highs and other Class A drugs in and around Newcastle city centre.

A suspect is taken away by police during the early morning raids. Pic: Northumbria Police.

A suspect is taken away by police during the early morning raids. Pic: Northumbria Police.

The raids followed a police operation to identify those involved in the supply of the drugs and gather intelligence about their tactics.

Officers from across the force executed a number of arrest warrants across Newcastle, including two addresses in Cowgate and Elswick.

Eight people were arrested as part of a successful operation, and now six men and a woman have been charged with conspiracy to supply lethal highs.

The men are aged 20, 22, 25, 44, 50 and 55, and the woman is 24.

They are all from the Newcastle area and will appear before city magistrates on April 7.

A 36-year-old woman was released on police bail.

Lethal highs is the new term for what were previously known as legal highs - psychoactive substances which have been linked to a number of deaths and hospital admissions over the years.

They produce similar effects to illegal drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.

A suspect is led away by police during the 'lethal; highs' raid. Pic: Northumbria Police.

A suspect is led away by police during the 'lethal; highs' raid. Pic: Northumbria Police.

Superintendent David Felton, who led the operation for the force's Central Area Command, said the charges show a commitment to taking lethal highs off the streets of Newcastle for good.

He said: "Newcastle is a very safe city and a fantastic place to visit. There has been lots of work done to take lethal highs off the street and many people would have seen the footage we released last year showing the effects these substances have on users.

"Those involved in the supply of these types of drug pray on some of the most vulnerable people in society, and this operation is not only about taking those people off the streets but it is about safeguarding vulnerable people.

"Our action won't stop here, and we will continue to target those we believe to be bringing illegal substances onto the streets of Newcastle, and will do what we can to put them before the court.

"We will continue to work with our partners at the local authority to ensure we remain as one of the most proactive police forces in the country when it comes to taking illegal substances off our streets."

Northumbria Police worked closely with Newcastle City Council as part of the operation and they continue to work together to make Newcastle a safe place to live, work and visit.

Newcastle City Council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods and regulation, Coun Nick Kemp, said: "Drugs and lethal highs are the scourge of our communities, wrecking families, neighbourhoods and even destroying lives."

Anyone who has any information about the supply of 'lethal highs', or any other type of illegal substance, can contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.