Police raid drug dens next to school

The largest co-ordinated drug raids ever conducted by Greater Manchester Police have targeted dealers across the Jewish neighbourhoods of Crumpsall, Prestwich, Whitefield and Broughton Park.

The operation, carried out last Tuesday and involving nearly 500 officers in 29 synchronised dawn raids, was designed to crush street dealing in the Cheetham Hill area.

No Jewish people are known to be among the 25 arrested, although part of the operation was designed to protect Manchester King David pupils - among other schoolchildren - from a drug market run a short distance from the school.

Chief Superintendent Caroline Ball confirmed no King David students were buying or selling drugs, but the school's proximity to the dealing was a concern. "That's one of the reasons why we had to do this, because you've got to think about safeguarding
children and young people."

Ms Ball said a surveillance operation captured footage of people queueing for drugs at designated pick-up points in Cheetham Hill. "That's not something I want to see as a police commander in north Manchester," she added.

Raided Crumpsall properties included one on Rectory Road situated to the rear of King David, while a second was 500m away. Three lay a few metres from popular Jewish roads in Broughton Park.

King David chair of governors Joshua Rowe said: "We can only compliment the police on the action they have taken."

Two Jewish community members, David Arnold and Barbara Goldstone, were part of a police advisory group which escorted police on the raids.

    Last updated: 4:17pm, October 7 2010