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Street drive to put dealers and yobs on the run

We're taking back Boro's streets!

That was the message from Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston as he spearheaded a major push to drive drug dealing and anti-social behaviour out of law-abiding communities.

Middlesbrough Council's Street Wardens and surveillance vehicles are targeting areas blighted by crime and yobbery, reassuring local residents and giving the culprits nowhere to hide.

This week letters have been hand-delivered to homes in Harford Street, with daily operations planned for the coming weeks across the town centre.

The crackdown had an early win when Wardens seized a wrap of crack cocaine after moving on a group of known drug users from near the Harford Street alleyway.

And later this week the team will be hitting streets in North Ormesby in response to local demand.

The move follows calls for action from residents, with Wardens using their full powers, and calling on police back-up when required.

In a letter to the Mayor, one exasperated resident wrote: "There is a pretty big drug problem behind the back of our properties - it's reached the point where people are queueing up outside the alleyway to purchase what appears to be cocaine from someone behind the locked gate.

"People on mopeds, bikes and even company vans turn up, and that brings with it people defecating on the pavement and leaving empty alcohol cans behind the property. 

"The sheer number of people turning up suggests that there is a very large amount of drugs and a big operation going on."

Mayor Preston said: "Decent law-abiding people are at their wits' end, so we're determined to stamp this out.

"When people tell us where the problems are, they'll see our wardens and camera vehicles out and about, disrupting and filming the trouble-makers and moving them on.

"We'll work with the police too, so dealers can expect to be arrested and charged.

"The message is clear - if you're selling or buying drugs or wreaking havoc in Middlesbrough communities, we'll be coming after you."

To report nuisance and anti-social behaviour, contact the Neighbourhood Safety Officer on 01642 728327 or 01642 728775, or Wardens on 01642 228500.

To report a crime or criminal activity, call Cleveland Police on 101 or in an emergency 999.

Pictured: Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston joins Street Wardens to deliver letters to residents.