RESIDENTS who have endured months of drug dealing in their streets were visibly relieved after police moved in and hauled off dozens of offenders during a two day operation.

Grateful residents in central Southend revealed they had been calling police for months about dealers who caused mayhem after basing themselves in their streets.

Many said they had endured years of antisocial behaviour.

Families looked on with relief as hordes of officers in riot gear stormed flats and houses during the South Essex-wide Operation Erasure on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Those in the Kursaal ward claimed to see drugs runners and dealers “every minute of the day” and said the problem had escalated.

More than ten officers barged into two properties with battering rams simultaneously in Albert Road, Southend at about 9.30am yesterday.

After shouting “police” at those inside, screams and shouts could be heard from occupants.

Residents of Albert Road stopped in the street to see what was going on.

Joanne Smith, 45, said: “People are phoning the council and police every day. It’s been going on for months. There are domestic arguments and screaming at the top of their lungs.

“There are drugs coming and going and antisocial behaviour.

“They have lashed out at public property in the street when they get angry. It’s wonderful to have the police here sorting it out.”

Stuart Sargent, 30, said: “They raided two houses. but the problems only really come from one of the houses. It’s been going on for years.

“They are going up and down the road all the time. It’s all day every minute of the day, there are people coming in and out doing drug deals at the bottom of the road.

“This is the first time in three years we have seen a raid. I’m glad it’s happened, but give it a week and they will be doing it again.”

Another neighbour, who didn’t want to be named, said: “There are too many drunks and druggies here. They put too many in the hostels and houses of multiple occupancy and they clash.”

Nearby York Road was the scene of a murder investigation last week when 26-year-old Hassan Mohammed Ibrahim died after being stabbed.

Tom Prescott, 25, of Albert Road, said: “When the murder happened there were lots of police going around, but they were obviously concentrating on the murder investigation so it’s really good to have so many here.”

A resident from Christchurch Court, off Southchurch Road, where another drugs raid was carried out, who also asked not to be named said: “There is drug dealing around here. We have a spate, it goes but then it comes back again. Most people around here are nice people, but the flats are a walk-through for people so bad things happen here.

Unfortunately drugs will always be a problem, wherever you go.”