RAIDS on suspected organised crime gang members in the Dearne resulted in a haul of Class A drugs being seized - while officers behind the crime reduction scheme have warned a zero tolerance approach has been adopted.

Operation Fortify has focused on the area in recent months, with stop and search tactics and house raids being carried out as the crackdown on identified gangs steps up.

Police said a quantity of drugs were recovered from a house last Friday, while a 40-year-old man was found with a ‘substantial amount’ of Class A drugs in his possession during a stop and search at the weekend.

Substances including heroin, amphetamine and diazepam were retrieved while cannabis and cash was also found.

Sgt Matt Cowling, from the Fortify team, said: “Our efforts to identify those involved in the supply and distribution of drugs in the area continues and this week we’ve carried out a number of warrants.

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“Some have proved successful but what’s important to us is that local residents know that we are committed to making the area a safer and more enjoyable place to live.

“If you’re involved in the supply of drugs, or any other associated criminality, we will identify you. This isn’t just a week of action or sporadic activity, it’s a long-term plan to identify and arrest those involved in organised crime and remove drugs and weapons from the streets.”

Officers believe South Yorkshire as a whole has been seen as a hotbed for organised crime groups (OCGs) thanks to its road links to West Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Humberside.

Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet members are also discuss the matter in the coming weeks, following an ongoing consultation with schools across the town, and are due to set out a plan which will involve a ‘multi-agency approach’ to deal with organised crime and in particular gangs’ alleged use of vulnerable children to peddle drugs.

Multiple OCGs were identified in Barnsley earlier this year and dozens of people remain on investigating officers’ radars, with 50 per cent of the gangs assessed as being armed.

Detective Inspector Steve Smith, who leads the Fortify team, told the Chronicle: “We are working hard to ensure residents feel safe where they live and put confidence back in the local community.

“We are carrying out daily activity to ensure those crime gangs bringing misery on the community are identified and robust action is taken.

“Please do speak to us if you have concerns. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, Crimestoppers are available on 0800 555111. They are completely anonymous and separate from the police.”