The shop is closed for business. That was the clear message given out by Corby police yesterday after they shut down the town’s last remaining fortified drugs house.
Armed officers swooped on the property in Eastbrook, as well as four others in the immediate vicinity, one on the Oakley Vale estate and one in Kettering.
It is believed those taken into custody were all associated with the same gang.
Police confirmed that they had arrested three women aged 24, 31 and 53, and five men aged 19, 31, two aged 33 and a 35-year-old. Officers suspect them of drugs and proceeds of crime-related offences.
The building had become known locally as ‘The Shop’ because buyers would buy drugs from a side gate featuring an eye-level CCTV camera and a tiny hatch. The drugs would be swapped for money by a gloved hand through the hatch, and buyers would never actually meet the dealers.
Sources at the scene said it was being run as a commercial enterprise.
The house stands out in the street as it is freshly painted, has a new roof and CCTV cameras on the eaves. It also has a nine-foot metal fence to the rear. The other houses raided are all within 10 metres.
Insp Gary Williams said yesterday’s activity had taken place following the 2010 raids on three of Corby’s major drugs houses. He said: “I promised the people of Corby then that I would continue to tackle this sort of crime. We believe this is the last major fortified drugs house in Corby.
“This was a large scale operation and officers from across the whole county were involved. We did raid this house in 2010 but did not gain sufficient evidence to shut it.
“It’s about getting the evidence we needed to secure prosecutions.
“What appears to be a normal home was a highly sophisticated drug house designed to maximise the gang’s enterprise.
“I have no doubt this particular premises was encouraging people who are engaged in other types of criminality to visit this area when people know they can buy drugs here so readily.”