Child exploitation ring and new Ilford Station drug dealers of ‘grave concern’ to Redbridge Council

Robbery has also increased. Picture: Paul Bennett.

Robbery has also increased. Picture: Paul Bennett. - Credit: Archant

New drug dealers and child exploitation rings have started operating from Ilford Station, Redbridge police have confirmed.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Jas Athwal said children being groomed for ill-gain in Cranbrook Road is of “grave concern”.

“We are working with the police, Transport for London (TfL) and other agencies to work out a better layout for the new Ilford station, thereby helping to prevent drug and other criminal activity,” he said.

“It is good the police are taking positive action to tackle child sex exploitation as it is of grave concern to us.

“Police are also working with our social services teams to prevent these activities.”

Sgt Lee Wilkinson, of Ilford Town Centre Police team, said new dealers have filled the space the old dealers took up.

In April 2016 the Recorder reported that rival gangs of Afghan and Somali descent were vying to control drug territories around the station in Cranbrook Road.

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After months of police investigations and home raids, 11 dealers, aged between 18 and 29, were sentenced to a collective 28 years behind bars for numerous offences involving the supply of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis, in March 2017.

Police confirmed the majority of the gang members are now back on the streets but they have not been seen reoffending with new dealers filling the space the old dealers took up.

“Safer Neighbourhood officers have continued to police this area resulting in successful seizures of controlled drugs and prosecutions for supply offences,” said Sgt Wilkinson.

“Eighteen Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) have been given to the most prolific offenders in Ilford town centre.”

In addition to incidents around the station, robbery has gone up by 87.1 per cent in the Ilford Town Centre ward.

Between September 2017 and August 2018, there were 174 reported incidents compared to 93 the year before.

Business robbery has also risen from seven incidents to 11.

During the same time period “other violence against the person” has risen by 104pc.

All violence against the person categories, including wounding, GBH, common assault, offensive weapons and harassment has increased from 709 to 814 incidents.