POLICE have beefed up their presence in the Kingswood area following a stream of complaints from residents about drug dealing.
Several people complained to officers about drug dealers and addicts doing their seedy business in Kingswood Park on Clayhill Road, Basildon.
So far, during the crackdown, police have arrested four people for drug-related offences, including one man caught with a machete.
Off the back of residents’ complaints – and with cash provided by the Basildon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) – police have been stepping up their patrols in the area.
A team of police constables and community support officers (PCSOS) have so far carried out 150 hours of patrols in the area on foot and bicycle. They have carried out stop checks on those suspected of being involved in crime and arrested four people so far.
Those stopped by officers have also been given details of the drugs charity Open Road to get help and support for their addictions.
Codenamed Operation Strive, the crackdown has also seen officers teaming up with representatives from Open Road and going into pubs and shops in the Kingswood area to talk to people about the drug-related problems in the area.
Posters have also been put up around the park and in the underpass leading to the town centre with information about the crackdown and how those with drug habits can get help.
Those arrested so far include:
*a 39-year-old man from Camberwell, South London who was wanted in connection with five burglaries. He has been arrested and remanded in custody.
*A 33-year-old man from Basildon who was arrested for breaching a court order who is due to appear in court later this month.
*A 22-year-old man from Benfleet, arrested for possessing an offensive weapon, possessing cannabis and numerous driving offences. He has been bailed until February.
*A 46-year-old man from Basildon arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis. He was charged and will appear at Basildon Magistrates’ Court later this month.