DRUG dealers are set to be evicted from their homes under a fresh crackdown unveiled by police and city leaders.
A series of addresses were raided in Wester Hailes yesterday, with two men charged in connection with alleged drugs offences following the operation.
Both men will face eviction from their homes if they are convicted in court, and other dealers who are council tenants are set to be hit with the same punishment in future.
Chief Inspector Richard Thomas, who is in charge of policing for the Pentlands area, said eviction proceedings would be taken against dealers convicted as a result of Operation Cipher, a campaign launched on Tuesday to improve the lives of residents in the Calders area of Wester Hailes.
The tactic is also expected to be used in future as part of tough measures to drive dealers out of troubled communities.
Chief Insp Thomas said: “These are individuals who are blighting the local community and if they are council tenants then the council will move to evict them.”
Further police raids are already planned against suspected dealers in Sighthill and Gorgie during the next month and any council tenants among them will also face eviction.
Councillor Cammy Day, the city community safety leader, said: “The commitment is to take a more proactive and harder line on council tenants who are convicted of drug dealing.
“The legislation is there to evict tenants convicted of these offences, and we will absolutely look to use those powers.”
After a repossession order is granted, council staff are required to give advice on housing to evicted tenants who then face arranging private lets, staying with friends or relatives or living in hostels.
The tenants will not be allowed to live in council homes in future unless they are able to demonstrate they have changed their behaviour.
The move has been welcomed by Cllr Paul Edie, former housing leader and Liberal Democrat member for Corstorphine and Murrayfield.
He said: “The council will be able to provide advice but we would not have a duty to rehouse as these people would not be considered to have made themselves homeless unintentionally. That’s the difference.
“We have to send out a clear message that drug dealing will not be tolerated. I think this will have an impact on the problem. The prospect for drug pushers of losing their home will act as a strong deterrent.”
Five addresses were raided simultaneously at 7.30am yesterday in Wester Hailes. A cannabis cultivation with a street value of £1600, £300 worth of heroin, and a £100 of cannabis resin were seized by officers.
Police launched the operation against suspects living in Dunsyre House South, Medwin House South, Cobbinshaw House South, Calder Gardens and Murrayburn Park.
Chief Insp Thomas added: “This activity is part of a wider multi-agency initiative designed to improve quality of life for those living in and around the Calders area, and we will continue to engage with local communities to tackle the issues that matter to them.
“Around 70 officers were involved and our presence within these areas should serve as a reminder to those involved in the drugs trade that we will actively gather intelligence against you and carry out operations like this to bring you to justice.”