Police reveal huge drop in crime at Ilford station following drug gang convictions

Ilford Station.

Ilford Station. - Credit: Archant

The spectacular success of a police sting that “cut the head off” a vast drug dealing racket at Ilford station was fully revealed last night.

At a meeting of Redbridge Council’s external scrutiny committee, representatives of the Metropolitan Police, the British Transport Police (BTP) and the council’s own enforcement officers revealed 16 per cent less crime had been recorded at the station this year.

The news comes just a month after 11 members of an Albanian and Afghan drug gang were sentenced to a combined total of 28 years behind bars for their role in turning Ilford station into an open air drugs market last year.

The Met’s Sgt Lee Wilkinson, who now leads a team of 12 Pcs based in Ilford town centre, told the meeting recent successes were the result of incredibly hard work.

He said: “We had to go back to old fashioned policing, putting officers down on York Road every day.

“By the end of it there had been a real impact, one officer had flowers given to him and people actually came out and spoke to us.”

And the BTP’s Insp John Loveless agreed that tackling the station’s drug problem had led to a rethink of police strategy in the area.

Most Read

He said: “Standard policing tactics made it really clear there was a high level of of businesslike drug dealing going on and we had to make an overt show of strength, rattling our sabres and getting in their faces.”

Insp Loveless also revealed a number of lower level arrests had recently been made as small time drug dealers attempted to fill the vacuum left behind.

He said: “Our arrests on September 1 and the following days cut the head off the Albanian gang that had been based outside the station.

“It very quickly got around the criminal fraternity that that area, that had historically been used to sell drugs, was no longer the place to go.

“We dealt face-to-face and toe-to-toe with these people, almost on a daily basis, and now they’re inside.”

Cllr Joyce Ryan, chairwoman of the external scrutiny panel, was full of praise for the combined efforts of the council. the BTP and the Met.

She said: “Our last meeting here was quite tense there were a lot of interested parties that we couldn’t give as much information as we would have liked to.

“Incredible work was being done that could not be public knowledge and now we’ve all read about the results of that work in the Recorder.”