HOMES were raided across a Teesside community on Friday in a high-profile crime clampdown.

Cleveland police smashed down doors and searched seven addresses across Thornaby and recovered Class A drugs as well as a stash of Yankee Candles.

Detective Sergeant Daryll Tomlinson led the operation and said it was his belief that the town’s main street-level dealers of heroin, crack and cocaine had been arrested.

Three houses were searched earlier in the morning and three men were arrested, two for aggravated burglary and one for obstructing a police officer.

Four more properties were raided later in the morning in a co-ordinated strike. Three of the houses were believed to be occupied by the town’s main drug dealers.

A total of 32 police officers from the drugs, neighbourhood policing and dogs unit teams were involved following weeks of preparation.

The Northern Echo attended raids at three properties on Northumberland Road, Cobden Street and Staindale Road. Doors in two of those properties were smashed in.

At the Staindale Road address a 19-year-old man was hand-cuffed was arrested for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine. As he was led away a youth on the street with a scarf around his lower face shouted out, ‘keep your head up, mate.’

The door at the Northumberland Street address was also smashed in where suspected stolen property including four mountain bikes and 17 Yankee Candles were recovered. A man, 21, was arrested for possession with intent to supply cannabis and handling stolen goods.

At the Cobden Street address a 28-year-old man was arrested for possession with intent to supply and handling stolen goods and a woman, 30, was arrested for possession with intent to supply heroin, theft, and handling stolen goods.

The raids follows similar police ‘days of action’ in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough in recent weeks and will be followed up with a leaflet drop across Thornaby, designed to spread the message that the police are clamping down on drugs.

Det Sgt Tomlinson, from the community drug enforcement team, explained the police were acting on information from the public and police sources. He said: “The message is we want to encourage our communities to continue providing us with vital information and encourage people to continue to engage with us.”