THE head of policing in south Worcestershire says a new drug dealer moves in to fill the gap every time his officers make an arrest.

Superintendent Mark Travis told your Worcester News the force’s success in securing custodial sentences creates a vacuum which others step into.

He was speaking after a string of high-profile court cases involving drug dealers from the Midlands who were plying their trade in Worcester. But Supt Travis stressed the city does not have “a gang culture”.

“Your success creates some of the problems we face. We never want to stop having those successes but it perpetuates the cycle,” he said.

“We are not talking about large groups of people, but small pockets – one or twos that will move into an area.

“Whenever you get any drugs market adjacent to any city centre that market will overspill into other areas.

“They tend to look for areas with a degree of affluence, areas where they can join the market without coming into violence with other people in those markets.”

Last week Micah Golding and Rikko Marks were jailed for a total of 36 years between them for the murder of Adrian Lock outside a flat in Teme Road, Tolladine, from where the Birmingham pair had been selling drugs.

As well as being given life sentences for murder, Golding and Marks were also given concurrent jail sentences for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Previous to that four members of a drugs gang were sentenced to a total of 45-and-a-half-years in jail after their Worcester operation was infiltrated by undercover officers in a campaign called Operation Dorado. Their operation included a network of street dealers working out of a house in Wyld’s Lane, Worcester.

And earlier this month the Recorder of Worcester, Judge Robert Juckes QC, said dealers were travelling to the county to set up drug dens on a regular basis.

But Supt Travis delivered a stark warning to anyone looking to deal drugs in Worcester.

“If you are dealing drugs in the area we will pursue you with all the resources we have to prevent you from committing crime,” he said.

“We are doing drugs operations around the clock, seven days a week, to make sure we don’t let people get the foothold.”

He cited a recent operation which led to the arrest of two people from Birmingham and the seizure of crack and heroin worth £1,000, from an address in Worcester city centre.

“We go out and target them before they get established and make it an unpleasurable place to sell their drugs,” said Supt Travis.

“It is vitally important that we deploy our assets quickly and respond to intelligence that the community gives us.”

Supt Travis feels the use of integrated offender management, a multi-agency approach to tackling persistent offenders who commit a lot of crime, to work with offenders once they have been released from prison is the way forward. He said: “The long-term solution is to get them off drugs and get them into a stable life. Putting them in prison has a benefit but it’s not a long-term solution.”