TWO of the top officers involved in today's drugs raids talked about the gang they are targeting and the importance of public tip-offs.

Inspector David Tippets said: "This was an intelligence-led operation executing drugs warrants to disrupt the supply and control of drugs in the Walcot area. This is very localised, it’s an exploitative drugs network that targets children either through supply or uses them to supply drugs as well.

"I hope the community see that we take this sort of thing very seriously. It's important to us and we want to reduce it because of the related criminality and antisocial behaviour which occurs, like thefts of pedal cycles, antisocial behaviour on mopeds in green spaces, particularly in Walcot.

"Most of the warrants we carry out are in ordinary homes. You never know what's going on next door.

"We'll investigate what we've got and see what we get at the end of it. The most important thing is to disrupt the activity and any sanctions we get at court at a later date are an added bonus."

Neighbourhood sergeant for the area Richard Fay added: “We have a gang called The Walcot Boyz currently operating in the Walcot, Park North and Park South area. We are specifically targeting them.

“There are several strands of that gang and other individuals who are not directly linked to it but are working alongside of it. This is our primary target and we will continue over the coming months to target them.

“As often you’ll find within a gang, there’s a structure ranging from very young teenagers or even children, up to adults that will guide and instruct the teenagers.

“Often, the gang name will run for a period of time but the gang members and those heading it up will often change and the name will last longer than a lot of the members.

“I think people are surprised by [raids], though there are occasions where residents know what’s going on, they see comings and goings. 

“It’s important to remember that drug dealers take all forms and shapes, it’s not the stereotypical young males living in deprived areas, drug dealers operate anywhere in all walks of life.

“There are a number of gangs operating in Swindon and we will continue to identify and target them as priorities.

“[Drug dealing] is one of a number of issues we deal with on a regular basis ranging from low-level antisocial behaviour and littering up to serious criminality and organised crime.

“Thankfully, the community are very good at making contact with us and very proactive in providing us with information.

“Without that engagement, it would be very difficult for us to carry actions like this out so regularly, so I’m thankful that the community have the trust in us to speak to us about these issues, I’d like to thank them for doing so.

“Generally, the feedback to these actions is extremely positive because ultimately, people live at these addresses and they don’t want to witness or experience criminality, drug dealing or antisocial behaviour in the streets where they live.

“Please continue to contact us via 101 or through our website, or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

READ MORE: Three arrested, drugs and £2,000 seized in Walcot raid

PICTURES: Gallery of photographs from the raids