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Biggest police operation in Islington for years brings 18 arrests and closes a crack den

PUBLISHED: 16:25 28 February 2013 | UPDATED: 16:36 28 February 2013

Officefs briefed in public as part of the operation

Officefs briefed in public as part of the operation

Archant

The biggest police manoeuvre in Islington for years ended with a haul of 18 arrests, a seized crack den, big bags of drugs and more than £10,000 in cash.

Police search a scrap metal yard for stolen goodsPolice search a scrap metal yard for stolen goods

Big Wing, a London-wide operation, saw more than 130 officers specially drafted in to target drug dealers, robbers, thieves, scrap metal merchants, pick-pockets and more in the largest police action in the borough since 2011.

Crooks were arrested for drugs dealing, GBH and theft plus police captured big bags of heroin, stolen Xboxes and iPads in Archway, a crack den in Finsbury and a variety of weapons.

As part of an attempt to engage the public, one of the main briefings for the operation – which are normally strictly confidential – was performed in the N1 Centre, in Parkfield Street.

Sup Steve Deehan, who conducted the briefing, said: “We want people to see what we do – to try and arrest more people and bring them to justice.

Officefs briefed in public as part of the operationOfficefs briefed in public as part of the operation

“Our priorities in Islington are phone thefts and arresting more people for violence.

“It’s quite simple really, people just want the police to be effective and protect them no matter what your background.

“In Islington, we have the lowest number of outstanding warrants anywhere in London.

“We have some brave men and women out there protecting people.”

The flying squad, plain clothed police and surveillance units came to the borough to help out, while police cadets had a stall outside Angel tube Station warning people mobile phone thefts.

Islington is one of the worst place in London for phone snatches – with 12 being stolen the day before Big Wing.

Sup Deehan said: “I do think we have turned a corner with phone thefts. We know many of the people involved and are making regular arrests. The officers are doing a good job. They are very tenacious.”

The Gazette joined police on a series of raids on scrap metal dealers in Highbury and Holloway.

Non-ferrous metals, like copper and lead, can fetch up to £5,000 per tonne and criminals do a roaring trade stealing metal from railway tracks and church roofs and selling them to unscrupulous scrappers.

All the merchants visited in Islington during Big Wing were clean operations with no stolen metal in sight.

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