A JOINT operation between Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Police which spanned a year has successfully dismantled a town centre drugs ring operating out of three properties.

The Chronicle can reveal that an estate off Summer Lane - on the outskirts of the town centre - was the epicentre of a supply chain for Class A drugs.

So-called ‘county lines’ crime - a term used to describe organised crime groups targeting vulnerable adults and children to move, harbour and deal drugs on their behalf - was identified and saw criminals take over homes to use them as a base to deal drugs.

Males from Birmingham, London and Ipswich were involved and the scale of the matter saw enforcement teams take possession of three houses which were being used as drug dens.

Two people were referred following a human trafficking probe and five vulnerable residents were identified and supported by the investigating team.

Coun Wendy Cain, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, emphasised the hard work done by the council and South Yorkshire Police in the last year:

“They’ve been actively working to stop county lines and organised crime,” she said.

“The harmful effects of drug dealing and related crimes in our community have led to a team effort to solve these problems.

“Thanks to this teamwork, the council and police have effectively dealt with drug-related issues and protected vulnerable people in our area.

“It’s also important to remember in this case that adult abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to address it.

“If you’re worried about an adult being mistreated or neglected, please let us know.

“Your watchfulness is crucial in our shared commitment to creating a safe environment for everyone.”

Barnsley Magistrates’ Court granted a three-month closure order following the discovery that a property was being exploited by people linked to an organised crime group for drug trafficking.

An injunction order with a power of arrest was granted on January 17 for Daniel Pearson, of no fixed abode, from entering the Summer Lane estate.

This action was taken after Pearson, associated with drug dealing and antisocial behaviour, had already shifted his activities to other addresses on the estate.

The injunction order aims to safeguard vulnerable tenants and disrupt drug-related activities.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings added: “South Yorkshire Police has a good record of dealing with organised crime gangs and is very proactive targeting and disrupting their activities.

“However, it is not enough to tackle the gangs after the event.

“We need more and more to get upstream of crime and prevent

people being drawn into gangs in the first place.”

* If you have any information about suspected drug crime in your community, you can report it to police on 101. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, via their website crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.