Essex Police raided a nightclub in Southend in a show of force to crack down on drugs.
Around 100 police officers stormed Mayhem Nightclub, in Warrior Square, just before midnight on a busy Friday night. They had arrived together in at least 25 marked police vehicles including VG vans and patrol cars. The vehicles lined the roads around the club as the officers took part in the raid.
Once the raid had began, the police officers inside the nightclub stopped the music, turned on the lights and directed people towards the exit. Officers outside the club formed a barricade path in which anyone leaving would have to walk through.
People leaving the popular nightclub had to pass between police sniffer dogs on their way out. If a dog indicated to it’s handler that someone had drugs on them, they were taken to the side to be searched.
Chloe was in the smoking area on the pavement outside the nightclub when the raid took place. She said: “I was caged in the smokers area like an animal for half an hour. I was cold right through to the bone. Then the security staff suggested to the police that they should let us out.”
Mounted police units were at the scene to help disperse revellers into the high street. Hundreds of tipsy clubbers spread out into Southend high street, unhappy about the surprise ending to their night.
Once the club was empty, search teams were sent in to search the premisses for drugs. Officers took around 20 people to the side to be searched but had found no drugs by the time everyone had left the nightclub.
The raid left many nightclub revellers annoyed that their night had come to an end after they had paid the entry fee to get in. Rich Smith, 18, from Benfleet said: “Police raided the wrong club!”
Reece Evans, from Southend commented: “The raid was pointless. The police don’t know what they’re doing.” Other clubbers were repeating similar comments but a general thought was that the police would have seen better results raiding one of the other nightclubs in Southend.
Christine Hills, a prospective Independent candidate in Southend, said: “It was not a waste of time in my view, I stand by the police doing their job.”
Police carried out the operation after reportedly gathering intelligence of drug dealing believed to be taking place at the club. Superintendent Andy Prophet, the police commander for the area, said: “This operation is the start of a major crackdown of people using clubs and bars for drug dealing and associated crime.”
Where you in the nightclub last night? Did you witness the raid take place? Leave your comments below.