‘You’re famous’: Shirtless man’s door smashed down as cops storm homes and make dozens of arrests


The sky is still dark and a shirtless man is given a rude awakening.

Police vans have descended on a Tameside neighborhood before 6.30am and officers are bashing down a front door.

From the other side, still bleary-eyed, the man watches the cops burst into his home.

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They look for the flat and he puts a t-shirt on, before being arrested.

“What’s all this?” he asks the police officer marching him over to a van, as he spots cameras along the way.

The officer replies: “It’s the press, man. You’re famous.”

Police raid the property on Booth Close
Police raid the property on Booth Close

He’s one of two men arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and extracting electricity following a raid on the property at Booth Close, Stalybridge.

It was one of the first raids carried out as part of Operation Avro.

Police surprise a man in Stalybridge during a dawn raid before arresting him
Police surprise a man in Stalybridge during a dawn raid before arresting him

Each month, officers from across Greater Manchester descend on one of the region’s 10 boroughs to stamp out crime and engage with the public.

The first man, fully clothed, arrested on Booth Close
The first man, fully clothed, arrested on Booth Close

Today (February 17) is Tameside’s turn for the operation, which saw officers scatter across the borough at 6am as the first warrants were executed.

In a rallying call to his team outside Ashton Town Hall, Tameside’s chief superintendent Rob Cousen told officers: “We’re going to be having bellies up against the counter.”

Eleven arrests had been made by 10am. Two hours later, the number stood at 24.

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The second suspect arrested in the Booth Close raid
The second suspect arrested in the Booth Close raid

Suspects have so far been arrested for drug offences, child sexual exploitation and possession of indecent images, while a number of stolen vehicles have been recovered.

On Yew Tree Close, in Ashton, a team of officers arrived with a warrant to search an apartment for drugs.

Police struggle to enter the property on Yew Tree Close
Police struggle to enter the property on Yew Tree Close

Stubborn cops seemed to have met their match as they spent 11 minutes trying to get through the front door – using a battering ram, a rake and a spade to try and prize it open.

A man inside even dropped his key from a window as he wearily watched his front door trashed, as the frame surrounding it kept providing resistance, but officers had tried to drill the lock and couldn’t use it.

Officers finally made their way in, looked around the property and arrested the man on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

The man inside the Yew Tree Close property watches officers below before being arrested
The man inside the Yew Tree Close property watches officers below before being arrested

Elsewhere, policing teams monitored the borough for speeding drivers, illegal parking and uninsured motorists.

Officers on horses patrolled Hyde, while community officers carried out knife sweeps and dropped leaflets through residents’ doors, and searches were made in shops for illicit tobacco.

Along with police from other Greater Manchester boroughs, council enforcement officers and firefighters were on hand to help, under the Safer Tameside umbrella.

“It’s about reassuring the community of Tameside that we’re really proactive in looking after their concerns and listening to them,” Chf Supt Cousen told the Manchester Evening News .

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“Today is going to have a big effect – yes we’re going to be arresting people, yes we’re going to be engaging with our communities, we’re going to be listening to them.

“It’s about that trust and confidence as well – we want our communities to be giving us information so we can respond to that. Some of the activity today is exactly that.”

Chf Supt Rob Cousen at the Operation Avro briefing
Chf Supt Rob Cousen at the Operation Avro briefing

For Chf Supt Cousen, today is another chance to help build up the community’s faith in their local police force.

Under his watch, GMP in Tameside made 1,162 arrests in four months from last October, compared to 676 in the same period a year earlier.

“I’m just really proud, the figures speak for themselves,” said Chf Supt Cousen.

“We’re starting to see some of the crime come down now, because we’re taking out those people who create the most demand for us.”

During his briefing to officers outside Ashton Town Hall, he added: “We are delivering on our promises to make Tameside the safest borough in Greater Manchester and to bring offenders to justice.”

Operation Avro continues in Tameside until 1am tomorrow morning (Friday).

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www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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