Officers and councillors celebrate as Ilford station drug gang jailed

GVs of Ilford Town Centre.
Ilford station

GVs of Ilford Town Centre. Ilford station - Credit: Archant

The officers in charge of the year-long investigation into open drug dealing at Ilford station have welcomed the news that 11 men have today been sent to prison.

Operation Parish, which targeted the selling of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis in the area, was launched in February 2016 and ended with early morning raids and the arrest of 19 men on September 1.

Eleven of those men were sentenced to a combined 28 years and three months in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court this afternoon.

The operation was lead by the British Transport Police (BTP), who used surveillance cameras and undercover officers to gather hundreds of pages of evidence against those involved.

The BTP’s Det Ch Insp Sam Blackburn said: “I am extremely pleased with today’s sentence. It’s the result of a lengthy operation and excellent partnership working with MPS and Redbridge Council.

“The sentence shows we will do everything we can to ensure that people can travel and work without fear of intimidation.

“Nobody should feel intimidated or unsafe while they go about their daily lives.”

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Operation Parish was what is known as a multi-agency operation, meaning in this case that the BTP worked closely with both the Metropolitan Police and Redbridge Council to get the job done.

Det Supt Simon Warwick, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “By working closely with the local authority and British Transport Police, the Ilford Neighbourhood Policing Team has targeted those individuals who caused significant harm to our communities.

“We will continue our drive to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour and use a variety of methods to improve the safety of our community.”

And cllr Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, said: “We’ve been working closely with the police and we were very pleased with the strong action taken to clamp down on crime and disorder in the area.

“This operation was supported by the council, financially, with licensing enforcement and with the use of our CCTV network.

“I’m delighted to see the results of this hard work which sends a strong message that Redbridge is not a place that will tolerate this kind of activity.”