Police in Belfast have arrested 35 people and searched five properties in the last 17 days during an operation to reduce the supply and demand of illegal drugs in the city centre and across the wider south Belfast area.

Area Commander for south Belfast Chief Inspector Alan Lowry said: “One of the priorities in our local policing plan across south Belfast is to protect vulnerable people who are at most risk of harm caused by illegal drugs. We have listened to what the public and the business community have told us and we have acted to keep people safe. My focus and that of all officers will remain concentrated on dealing with drugs and all the issues that brings within the area.

"On Friday 17th November officers launched a new operation, focusing on illegal drug use and supply across the city centre and south Belfast areas. As part of the operation we have been conducting proactive activity and responding to information received from the community.

"Between the start of the operation and today, Monday 4th December, we have made 35 arrests, charged three people, issued ten community resolution notices, with a number of files being prepared for the PPS and other investigations ongoing. A number of items have also been seized, including a large quantity of suspected class A, B and C drugs, fireworks, illegal cigarettes, CS Spray and a baton.

"We hope these results demonstrate our commitment to keeping local communities across Belfast safe from this type of criminality.

"We remain committed to removing dangerous drugs like these from our streets and arresting those who peddle such drugs. Their only motivation is greed and they have little interest in the misery these drugs cause to everyone”.

Police would ask if anyone has any information about suspected drug dealing in their area to call the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Anyone who thinks they might have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs and would like to get help can visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info  This also includes details of services available for individuals affected by someone else’s drinking and/or drug misuse.