UK police use digger in raid on 'drugs baron'

The peace of a suburban west London street was shattered today as police rammed a digger into the home of a suspected millionaire drug trafficker.

The peace of a suburban west London street was shattered today as police rammed a digger into the home of a suspected millionaire drug trafficker.

Officers resorted to the extraordinary measure after discovering the £3m (€4m) luxury detached home was heavily fortified.

They believed one of the leaders of a £100m (€134.7m) cocaine trafficking and money laundering empire is based at the property.

The mechanical digger crashed through the brick and steel railing perimeter wall at the home in Hayes, west London, shortly after 5am.

It was driven by a police driving instructor who used the front loading shovel to knock down the wall in seconds.

As a police helicopter hovered overhead, illuminating the scene with a spotlight, dozens of officers wearing body armour then ran inside.

Specially-trained officers used hydraulic equipment, angle grinders and sledgehammers to smash open the reinforced front and rear doors.

Six vehicles including a Porsche four-wheel drive, a Hummer and two Mercedes were parked in the driveway of the large property.

CCTV cameras were attached to the outside walls and the windows were covered in metal security bars.

One senior officer said the show of force was necessary because computer and documentary evidence can quickly be destroyed.

Two men, believed to be a father and son, were arrested at the scene.

The raid was one of more than two dozen which took place simultaneously across London and the Home Counties.

More than 500 officers left from bases in Twickenham, Hayes, Willesden and Catford for the dawn operation, codenamed Eaglewood.

In East Molesey, south west London, 30 officers raided a home believed to be used by one of the gang’s financial “middle men”.

More than 30 officers were involved in the operation at a modern three-storey terrace home in Buckingham Avenue.

Officers used a sledgehammer to knock the door open before running inside shouting: “Police, stay where you are.”

Police said a 53-year-old man of Egyptian origin was arrested. The man was later led outside as police searched two cars.

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