17 arrested as police raids target a notorious south London gang

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There was an early wake-up call for suspected gang members in south London today. At 5am, police stormed 21 different addresses across Lambeth, Croydon and Sutton. 400 police officers were involved in the coordinated raids.

At one address, a woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. A man found with her, was wanted for failing to appear in court on another charge. In total, police made 18 arrests, in the operation targeting gang crime.

Around £10,000 of crack cocaine and heroin was seized - along with £3,000 in cash.

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The suspects are described as "high harm" individuals, suspected of involvement in a series of crimes, including drug-dealing, robbery and immigration offences.

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Police say gang activity has blighted the area, causing misery for residents and creating a hostile place in which to live.

There's no more vivid example of that than the shooting of five-year-old Thusha Kamaleswaren in a convenience store two years ago. She was shot by three members of the so-called 'Gas Gang' and it is that gang that police were particularly trying to target in this morning's raids.

Thusha Kamaleswaren Credit: ITV News

But she's far from being the Gas Gang's only victim. The Brixton-based group has been linked to at least six killings.

The message to them from today's raids, give up the gang lifestyle or expect more action from police.

Ruth Banks has been following the story.