MORE people have been arrested and charged, following the biggest ever crackdown on Cannabis dealers in Runcorn.

A total of 31 people, 27 men, two women and two juveniles, have appeared at Halton Magistrates Court, as part of Operation Gram.

Dawn raids smashed a drugs gang which netted £2 million a year supplying cannabis across Runcorn.

Some 17 have been remanded in custody and nine bailed to appear at a later date.

Five defendants have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply illegal drugs., One has received a 24-month suspended sentence, two have been jailed for 12 months and 2 have been granted bail after pleading guilty, pending pre-sentence reports.

The majority of those charged were arrested on Wednesday, September 5, as part of a series of dawn raids to target the suspected use and supply of Cannabis across the town.

Others were arrested two days later following the execution of further warrants in the town.

One man was also produced from prison in connection with the operation and subsequently charged.

One man voluntarily attended a police station were he was arrested and subsequently charged.

Around 300 officers were involved in the operation, he biggest that Cheshire Police has ever carried out in relation to Cannabis.

Warrants and searches have been carried out at a total of 28 properties across the town.

The operation was led by officers from Runcorn Neighbourhood Policing Unit, supported by colleagues from across the force.

Following the execution of the warrants, local neighbourhood officers have been carrying out high-visibility patrols to offer reassurance to local residents.

Inspector Gareth Lee said: "Following the strike phase of the operation, we have received a lot of positive comments from members of the local community who are pleased to see the action that has been taken.

"We want to reassure residents that the efforts of neighbourhood officers will continue.

"Illegal drugs can have a major impact on the local community. It is an issue we take extremely seriously and we devote all the resources we can to tackling the issue.

"Information from members of the public is vital in the fight against drug related crime and we would urge anyone with any information about suspected drug related activity in Runcorn to contact us.”

Anyone with information can call Cheshire Police on 101.