South Yorkshire Police’s new violent crime tasking force, funded through a £2.5m Home Office grant, began working in Goldthorpe and Bolton-upon-Dearne after bosses argued that something needed to be done to stop armed gangs - whose members are said to be behind rising drug-related reports - from recruiting youngsters in order to peddle substances in deprived areas.
Through Operation Fortify, the team raided a property last week and recovered a haul of Class A drugs - as well as thousands of pounds in cash - before arresting a 30-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.
Although both have been released under investigation, Detective Inspector Steve Smith hailed the result as a success and promised the public in affected communities to expect more proactive work.
“Carrying out warrants to disrupt suspected organised criminality is only one element of what we are doing,” he said.
“It is a key part - we want people to know just how determined we are to continue this fight directly against criminals and suspected gang members in this area.
“If you are involved, we will identify you and could be knocking on your door soon.
“Residents should not have to live in fear, or have concerns about organised crime where they live, and we are regularly working with the local community to address these issues and respond to their concerns.”
One gang, the so-called Pitsmoor Shotta Boys, originate from Sheffield but have infiltrated communities such as Goldthorpe and Bolton-upon-Dearne and were identified by Det Insp Smith.
“PSB (Pitsmoor Shotta Boys) are well-known, their activity is illegal and we won’t tolerate it as they bring misery to the communities which they have targeted,” he added.
“Unfortunately communities on the Barnsley and Rotherham border are close together and it’s these areas which have seen members dispersed.
“The current problems in Barnsley relate to Bolton-upon-Dearne and Goldthorpe, so that’s where our team of officers have been during the crackdown.
“PSB members have gained a foothold in communities and it’s our job to stop that from happening, by either dissuading young gang members or dismantling what remains.
“We have been getting some great results, along with tremendous support from the local community.
“These criminals are targeting the young and the vulnerable to do their dirty work.
“But the message from us is clear - they’ll get fed up before we do.
“I would urge the public to keep supporting us and use Crimestoppers to report any criminal activity. You can call them anonymously on 0800 555111.”