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Police mounted what they claim was the biggest coordinated blitz on crime and anti-social behaviour ever undertaken in Islington.

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Officers carried out more than a dozen raids under Operation Red Kite over 48 hours last Thursday and Friday.

They raided suspected drug dealers, held weapons sweeps on estates, worked with Network Rail to clamp down on metal theft, and teamed up with Islington Council and other agencies to target unlicensed premises, cycle theft, aggressive begging and more. Their efforts were focused on the south of the borough.

Ch Insp Richard Padwell, who led the operation, said: “The tremendous impact of this large-scale operation can be seen from the 50 per cent reduction in crime over the two days.”

Police said 105 offences were recorded over the two days, compared with an average of 220 for a 48-hour period.

The Gazette joined an early morning drugs raid on a flat in Eagle Dwellings, off City Road, Finsbury, where police uncovered crack cocaine and made an arrest for possession. Officers carried out five search warrants in all, unearthing a cannabis factory with 40 plants at one address.

Weapons sweeps on the Peabody Estate, off Essex Road, Islington, and the Camden Estate, off Camden Road, Holloway, turned up knives, drugs and needles. Twenty arrests were made in all, including for theft, burglary, GBH, handling stolen goods and possession of Class A drugs.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “This joint operation was one of the most ambitious of its kind ever in Islington, and is tackling problems and concerns right across our borough. We are directly confronting problems that blight the lives of our residents and communities.”

Islington’s new borough commander, Det Ch Supt Gerry Campbell, recently said large-scale operations like Red Kite would be carried out more frequently than ever before.

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