POLICE chiefs believe yesterday's raids on the homes of 30 suspected drug dealers will put a massive dent in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.
Police believe the suspects arrested are responsible for the majority of hard drugs sold on the streets of Runcorn and Widnes.
Over the next few weeks police will work with drug agency staff to help addicts who discover their supply has dried up as a result of the raids.
Chief Insp David Griffin, who was in charge of the operation, said: 'This was the biggest single drugs raid Cheshire police have ever carried out and I am confident it will significantly contribute to a cut in the amount of drugs available on the streets.
'Now officers will work with other agencies to ensure there is a support network in place for drug users.'
Area Support Group officers used battering rams to break into 28 addresses in Halton and two in Liverpool, while the suspects slept inside.
Sniffer dogs were used to search for drugs in the properties, ranging from a rundown terraced house in the Uplands, Palacefields, to a maisonette in Charlton Close, Halton Lea, with a trellis of red roses growing outside.
One man arrested on suspicion of dealing in heroin screamed at police as he was led away in handcuffs: 'It's disgusting, breaking down the door when there is a baby inside.'
Another bleary-eyed suspect, snatched from his bed by officers, made an obscene gesture to waiting photographers.
Chief Insp Griffin said: 'The people who deal in drugs have caused great misery for their communities. We wanted to turn the tables and strike a blow for the people who have been forced to stand by and watch while their neighbourhoods are destroyed.
'Some of these suspects are drug users themselves and lead chaotic lifestyles. However, we believe they are responsible for a huge amount of the crack and heroin sold on the streets of Runcorn and Widnes.'