Three hundred police officers swoop on Hackney gangs in dawn raids

More than 300 police officers stormed homes across Hackney in a string of dawn raids this morning hitting high-level gang ringleaders who spread fear and violence in the borough.

The dramatic swoop, which followed one of the Metropolitan Police Service’s longest undercover operations, saw 32 properties searched and 23 people arrested in a crackdown on criminals linked to Hackney’s notorious Pembury Boys gang.

The Gazette followed as riot police crept silently through a block of flats in Southwold Road, Upper Clapton, in the early hours - before they forced through a front door in a fast-moving search for suspects.

Officers later seized a kilogram of uncut heroin worth about �30,000, a wad of �50 notes and a fake self-loading pistol from a flat off Whiston Road – just yards from the scene of a triple gang stabbing in April last year.

The Pembury estate, in Pembury Road, Hackney central, which was the focus of the operation, has been a hotbed of vicious gang violence.

Raphael Smith, 18, was left paralysed from the neck down following a shooting on the estate in December 2008.

And Joshua ‘Coinz’ Owens, 19, who lived on the estate, miraculously survived multiple bullet wounds after an ambush in nearby Powell Road in August last year.

Most Read

Officers snared 14 of the 26 people they were looking to catch in connection with drug dealing and street violence in the climax of the largely council—funded 18 month operation today (Wednesday). Many face prison sentences of between four and seven years if convicted.

In total, 21 men and two women were arrested in the smash on Hackney’s gang network and are currently being held in custody.

About eight thousand pounds in cash, 45 mobile phones and 60 SIM cards were seized along with a large quantity of class A drugs.

Chief Supt Steve Bending, Hackney’s borough commander, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 300 officers from across London who were involved in this operation for their contribution to today’s activity. Today’s arrests, which are the culmination of 18 months’ work, will play an important part in further reducing gang-related crime in Hackney.”