MORE than 60 arrests and 3kg of drugs have been seized in a huge County Lines police operation - and the Telegraph & Argus was there to witness some of the raids.

Over the last four weeks, 61 warrants were executed in relation to the supply of class A drugs, with 55 of those raids being carried out in Keighley and six in Skipton.

A total of 62 people were arrested on suspicion of drug supply offences - and 31 of those people have now been charged.

During the operation, police recovered more than £100,000 in cash, 3kg of cannabis, crack cocaine and heroin, and weapons including batons, knuckle dusters, two swords, a machete, and a crossbow.

After an 18-month proactive investigation into County Lines, the operation, led by Bradford’s Precision Team, worked with the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (YHROCU), West Yorkshire Police’s Specialist Support Group, North Yorkshire Police, and the local Keighley Neighbourhood Policing team.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A suspect being bundled into the back of a police vanA suspect being bundled into the back of a police van (Image: Newsquest)

More than 20 County Lines from Keighley to Skipton were dismantled as a result.

The T&A gained exclusive access to a series of drug raids where West Yorkshire Police officers executed warrants and made arrests.

After meeting at Eccleshill Police Station at sunrise, around 6am, we joined dozens of officers in a sports hall-like building for a debrief.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The debrief took place at Eccleshill Police StationThe debrief took place at Eccleshill Police Station (Image: Newsquest)It was outlined to the eight teams that seven addresses, two in Keighley and five in Skipton, would be targeted on that day as part of Operation Sharkview.

We then rode along in a transit van, emblazoned with a West Yorkshire Police livery, heading to Keighley.

Several police vehicles assembled in Alston Retail Park patiently awaiting the call to action across all the selected addresses.

The radio address came in and we, along with a vehicle full of Specialised Support Group (SSG), raced across to park up on Parson Street.

All focus was then on the neighbouring Nightingale Street.

SSG officers put the Enforcer, a battering ram used to force open locked doors, to good use on the property.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Enforcer in actionThe Enforcer in action (Image: Newsquest)Once the chaotic scenes calmed down, a small dead rat on a nearby wall and a flurry of fly-tipping optimised a sorry image to behold.

A trip to Skipton was next on the agenda.

The leafy Willow Way in Burnside was a complete contrast to that of Nightingale Street – evidence of the variety of communities affected by the blight of drugs.

We arrived at the property at around 7.15am where a suspect had already been arrested and was being subject to questioning.

Officers then revealed who had been put into cuffs, a man - dressed in a dark fleece, three-quarter length shorts, and Crocs – emerged from behind the front door.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A suspect is taken into custodyA suspect is taken into custody (Image: Newsquest)As we made our way back to Eccleshill Police Station along the countryside roads, it was impossible not to ponder why drug dealing seems to be such a big problem across the district.

Whatever the cause, it is clear with operations like this West Yorkshire Police are as keen as every other law-abiding Bradfordian to have a crackdown.

On the day, officers attended 11 addresses across both areas - eight people were arrested with four charged and the others bailed. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Drugs recovered from an addressDrugs recovered from an address (Image: Newsquest)Speaking on those results, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Levitt of West Yorkshire Police, who headed up the operation, said: "A really successful morning.

"Especially when you consider this is week three of the operation and the cat is out of the bag in terms of what we are doing, these results are really good."

DCI Levitt was keen to underline the importance of the operation and how it has tackled drug dealing in Keighley. 

He told the T&A: "It is getting people before they get out of bed and start their day.

"When our evidence is most abundant it gives us those opportunities to go and seize phones and look at the clothing, watches, things that they have obtained as part of their criminality.

"Drug dealing in Keighley is really significant. This drug operation will go a long way to tackling that I feel."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Detective Chief Inspector Tom Levitt headed up the operationDetective Chief Inspector Tom Levitt headed up the operation (Image: Newsquest)He hopes this operation is only the start for him and his team.

DCI Levitt said: "This is just a springboard into the next operations we are looking to target, not only in Keighley but more broadly in Bradford as well."

He added: "We hope this operation sends out that message that we are going to tackle it and take it seriously and we will do what we can do to make Bradford a safer place."

Inspector John Barker, of Keighley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This operation highlights our commitment with Keighley Together to the local community to tackle drugs and organised crime in Keighley.

“Residents say drugs are a huge concern in the area, I would like to thank members of the community who provide vital intelligence about drug supply.

“I hope this action over the last few weeks sends a clear message that we take drug crime extremely seriously and we will do everything we can to keep people safe and get these drugs off the streets.”