Eastbourne Weekly Update

Alert message sent 24/10/2019 18:02:00

Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police

Thursday, 24 October 2019

News and appeals

Eastbourne man sentenced for sex offences against young girl

An Eastbourne man is starting a long prison sentence for a series of sexual offences over several years against a young girl.

At Brighton Crown Court on Friday 11 October, Mickey Erridge, 24, unemployed, of Wish Hill, Eastbourne, was sentenced to nine years and five months after pleading guilty to 11 sexual offences including rape, against the girl.

His offending began when the girl was just eight and continued for seven years until in 2017 she finally felt strong enough to tell her family, who immediately informed the police.

He will be a registered sex offender for life and was also given by the court a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) for 15 years, severely prohibiting his access to children.

Detective Constable James Brown of the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said; "This victim endured several years of sexual abuse from Erridge and I would like to commend her bravery in coming forward. She now needs, and is receiving, on-going support after all she has been through."

For information on sources of advice and support for victims of sexual offences see the Sussex Police website.

Police keeping up pressure on drug dealers across Sussex

Police across Sussex are keeping up the pressure on 'County Lines' drug dealers.

During just one week in October, as part of the latest phase of coordinated law enforcement activity across the UK, officers in Sussex made 29 arrests, and seized more than £35,000 worth of class A drugs as well as 30 mobile phones.

In the same week, 7-13 October, local officers identified and took safeguarding action for seven vulnerable people including three children, and visited 48 addresses where people were at risk of being 'cuckooed' to check on their safety.

Two court-issued Drug Dealing Telephone Restriction Orders (DDTROs) were executed by officers in Eastbourne and Crawley, closing down local 'deal lines'.

Officers in East Sussex also visited Colleges to speak to students about the dangers of becoming involved in this type of criminality.

Pictured are Sussex officers and dogs owkring with British Transport Police to detect travelling drug dealers on the rail network.

In addition, just two weeks previously, police investigating another 'County Lines' operation had executed a search warrant at an address in Ashington where they seized drugs and cash. Two men aged 48 and 49, and a woman aged 42, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. They were interviewed and released under investigation. Officers had also obtained a DDTRO on the phone number used and it was disabled.

Detective Superintendent Jo Banks said: "This is the result of just one week's activity but we continue every day to disrupt dealers who try to deal dangerous drugs across our communities and we target those who use children to sell drugs or those who buy drugs from children. We investigate and prosecute, working relentlessly and targeting those who would bring harm to local people, including often the most vulnerable. 

"Local crime is often a direct result of major drug distribution via county lines and by working together with partners to shed a light on this often hidden crime. We are sending a clear message to drug dealers that they cannot expect to go undetected in Sussex."

'County Lines' is a term used by Police and partner agencies to refer to drug networks, both gangs and organised crime groups, from large urban areas such as London, who use children and young people and vulnerable adults to carry out illegal activity on their behalf. Gangs dealing drugs is not a new issue but the extent to which criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults, as well as the increasing use of violence, has become an inherent part of it through 'County Lines' makes it especially damaging.

The organised crime groups tend to use a local property, generally belonging to a vulnerable person, sometimes a drug user, as a base for their activities. This is known as 'cuckooing' and will often happen by force or coercion. In some instances victims have left their homes in fear of violence. Much police work involves identifying these victims and helping them.

Police continue to see children being exploited by criminal gangs to supply drugs in Sussex. Sussex have experienced children travelling from London to Sussex to deal drugs on behalf of county line gangs as well Sussex children being exploited and targeted by London gangs to deal drugs locally. Our priority is to identify those children at risk of criminal exploitation and once identified work with partner agencies to put the appropriate safeguarding measures in place.

The areas in Sussex most effected by the drug trade from London are the larger coastal towns, with established drugs markets that can be exploited locally, including Hastings, Eastbourne, Worthing, Bognor, and Brighton, but also towns such as Crawley.

Det Supt Banks continued: "We use the range of legal powers to tackle this problem, ranging from the Misuse of Drugs Act to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking legislation and can use technological advances through the use of DDTROs.

"We also work closely with other agencies to support those vulnerable adults and children who are exploited by county line gangs. This includes regular visits to those adults at risk of cuckooing and raising awareness with those agencies engaged with children to ensure that information is shared effectively to prevent young people being drawn in to this criminality."
There are currently some 90 'deal lines' in operation in Sussex at any one time, often overlapping with other force areas, but that figure fluctuates on a regular basis. A ‘deal line’ is the dedicated mobile phone line to take orders from drug users.

The County Lines response isn’t just a policing one. Effective collaboration between law enforcement and safeguarding organisations and also the private sector industries is a vital part of both the national and local response. 

Members of the public can also help, the best advice is to trust your instincts – if somebody shows signs of mistreatment, or a child seems to be travelling long distances or is unfamiliar with a locality, you can report suspicions to local police on 101 or online - or to British Transport Police if you see something on the railway network. 

There are also many sources of further advice and assistance to help combat the harm caused by drugs, including;

FRANK - Provides straight-talking information about drugs - their helpline number is 0800 77 66 00 and see their website.  

Narcotics Anonymous - A self-help group run by recovering addicts which provides an open discussion on the impact of drugs and family. There helpline number is 0300 999 1212 and see their website www.ukna.org

The Samaritans - Offer emotional support 24 hours a day. Their helpline number is 08457 90 90 90 and see their website. 

Families Anonymous - Support groups for the family and friends of people with a current, suspected or former drug problem. Their helpline number is 0845 1200 660 and see their website.

Adfam - A national organisation working with and for families affected by drugs and alcohol. Contact them at admin@adfam.org.uk or see their website.

You can also contact www.fearless.org who allow you to pass on information about crime anonymously.

See this government site for further information on DDTROs. 

Be Polite This Halloween Night

Hallowe'en has become an increasingly popular celebration over the past few years for children, families and young people especially, but it is important not to have fun at the expense of others.

One way to deter unwanted trick or treaters on October 31, is to print and display the 'no trick or treaters' poster, these can be picked up from your local Police station/contact point, or printed for free online here: https://www.sussex.police.uk/police-forces/sussex-police/areas/campaigns/campaigns/halloween/

If you are looking to take part the poster for ‘Trick or treaters Welcome’ can also be found on our website or at local Police contact points and stations.

Remember not everyone enjoys Halloween, spare a thought for those who may feel anxious with strangers knocking on their door.

Have fun, stay safe, and only go to homes who are clearly welcoming trick or treaters, if you see someone displaying a no trick or treat poster, please do not call at those homes as people do not wish to be disturbed.

Crime summary

A burglary occurred on 18/10/2019 on Elm Grove, Eastbourne, whereby a garage was broken into, it is unknown at this time what was stolen from within (Ref:47190178482).

An attempted burglary occurred on 21/10/2019 overnight, on Sevenoaks Road, Eastbourne, whereby a garage door was found with marks on it as if someone had tried to force entry – no property was stolen from within (Ref:47190181057)
Help us keep Sussex safe

If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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Megan Hall (Police, Prevention Support and Engagement Officer, Sussex)

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