POLICE have arrested 25 people after carrying out two days of "really successful" early-morning drug raids in the city.

Wiltshire Police officers raided addresses throughout Salisbury as part of Operation Karine, a multi-phase operation tackling drug dealing in the city.

Twelve arrests relating to drug offences were made yesterday and a further thirteen today.

Operation Karine is a three phase intelligence led operation which started in November last year.

Since then, officers have been gathering information about drug use in the city, which led to the two-day strike action this week.

Inspector Pete Sparrow said the main focus of the operation was into cuckooing - when drug dealers from large metropolitan areas take over the drug supply in rural areas by exploiting vulnerable people.

Insp Sparrow said offenders from cities such as London, Nottingham and Portsmouth would target local drug users, or other vulnerable people, to involve them in supplying drugs to others.

He said: "They will either offer to pay the rent for them, they can offer them cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, or they come in with violence and threats. It comes in all sorts of different forms but target people who just obviously have that inability to shut the door and say no thank you.

“We’ve seen an increased amount of this over time, and this is how the operation started – based around an increase of violence that was seen that was associated with this type of behaviour.

"You start to see the pattern of who the victims are, who the suspects are, and the people known to them but not necessarily to us who then become more and more prevalent within our community."

One raid, attended by a Journal reporter, took place in Bishopdown and was led by PC Dave Hambly.

Twelve officers forced entry to the premises and detained two men, before seizing a quantity of controlled drugs PC Hambly believed to be heroin.

Drug paraphernalia and several mobile phones were also seized and the two men were taken into custody for questioning.

Assistant Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said Operation Karine was a "longstanding" campaign that had taken "several months' worth of planning and detailed meticulous police work in the background.

He said: "It’s really good to see now that all of that hard work’s come to fruition over the last couple of days.

"There have been some really good outcomes with people from the Salisbury area, but more importantly people who are from out of Salisbury area who’ve been involved in the supply of class A drugs here in Wiltshire, who are now in custody.

"A number of those have been charged and will be going before the court either today or tomorrow, so so far so good – a really successful operation."

Of the twelve arrests made on Wednesday, four were from Salisbury, five from London, two from Nottingham and one from Portsmouth. Nine were charged and remanded while two required no further action, and another was released on bail.

Police will be releasing updated figures shortly.

ACC Pritchard said residents should feel confident to report any concerns of cuckooing to the Police.

He told the Journal: "The first thing [residents] were saying to me today was 'thank god you've come', and they were ready to help us.

"The disappointing bit is that people haven't felt the confidence to phone 101.

"If you've got an address where there are persistent callers coming all hours of the day or night, you know there's antisocial behaviour going on and you suspect drugs supply, 101 is there for you so you can have confidence in reporting those sorts of concerns directly to us.

"We can then use that as part of our intelligence puzzle - to piece together the broader picture."

Wiltshire Police say the city must now be made "inhospitable" to other drug offenders.