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  1. ITV Report

Drug dealer suspects arrested in raids are released

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14 people arrested during early morning raids as a part of a long-running police drug operation have all been released under investigation.

Yesterday, around 150 officers from Durham Constabulary stormed 14 addresses across County Durham as part of Operation Sledgehammer - a campaign which aims to disrupt and deter organised crime gangs.

Similar raids also took place in Mersyside and South Tyneside.

However, a spokesperson for the force has now confirmed that the suspects, 11 men aged between 24 and 44 and three women aged between 37 and 61, have all been released under investigation.

The operation has been an overwhelming success.

This morning's raids are the culmination of months of hard work and investigation which would not have been possible without the support of local people who have come forward with valuable pieces of intelligence.

I hope today's action sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate criminality of this nature in our force area, and we will take action to dismantle, disrupt and destroy these networks.

– Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Lawrence, from Durham Constabulary - speaking on Monday