DRUG squad officers raided a home in Southend taken over by dealers – and seized cannabis, knives and an axe.

Officers from the Essex Police South Operation Raptor team targeted a home in Kursaal ward in the centre of Southend.

The raid, on Friday, came after concerns were raised over suspected drug dealers taking over a man’s flat, commonly known as cuckooing.

Police would not release the specific location because of the vulnerable nature of the victim.

Officers seized cannabis, knives and an axe and removed everyone from inside the property and issued them with a Community Protection Warning.

They also took the alleged cuckooing victim into custody for safeguarding.

A spokesman for the Operation Raptor team, said: “While we proactively target those involved in gang and drug-related crime, we also proactively safeguard those individuals who find themselves caught up in this world because they are being or have been exploited.

“As in this case, we will take all steps to act where we are made aware that someone is being exploited or put at risk by criminals.”

Residents say they are pleased to see the police take swift action.

Beryl Simpkins, 54, from Southend, said: “I am pleased to see the police are caring for this poor man.

“It shows the police are taking quick and swift action.

“This shows the officers are working hard to keep our communities safe.

“The people behind this must be caught and dealt with very soon.

“We should be able to live in our homes and be safe without being in fear of this happening.

“It simply cannot go ahead and these people should be before the courts.”

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