Ilford station was ‘an open market for drug dealing’, court hears

Ilford Station.

Ilford Station. - Credit: Archant

Ilford station was described as “an open market for the dealing of drugs” as the trial of an alleged drug gang began yesterday.

Six men, aged from 18 to 30, appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court charged with conspiracy to supply heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis outside Costa Coffee, in Cranbrook Road, between March and September last year.

Most of the group were arrested in early morning raids by British Transport Police (BTP) officers on September 1.

Opening the case, prosecutor Martyn Bowyer told the jury: “In March last year the area around Ilford station became an open market for the selling of illegal drugs, in particular heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis.

“On an almost daily basis, gangs of young men, mainly of an Albanian extraction but also Afghan, gathered around the main entrance to Ilford station – particularly in the vicinity of a Costa Coffee shop.”

Mr Bowyer then revealed a collection of more than 200 surveillance photographs showing the six defendants and a number of other young men, allegedly selling drugs outside the station.

The court then saw covert footage of the gang, filmed by five undercover BTP officers on 11 separate days in July last year.

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The defendants, who claimed they only visited the cafe to socialise, deny the charges.

The trial continues.

For the full story, pick up tomorrow’s Ilford Recorder.