THREE people arrested during a series of police raids in Andover yesterday have since been released from custody, but remain under investigation.

The arrests were made, as part of an investigation in to the exploitation of children in the drugs trade, as officers searched homes in Genoa Court, Corunna Main and Harvey Place on Wednesday in scenes one neighbour described as “ram, bam, coppers in”.

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Missing and Exploited Team also seized a quantity of cash and suspected Class A and Class B drugs.

One eyewitness, who wished not to be named, said: “We were busy drinking tea and coffee. Around 11am-ish coppers were making a lot of noise. Must have been two vans, quite a few police in plain clothes.

“They blocked up all the road so no-one could get in or out.”

Another neighbour said they thought it was just bailiffs coming round like an episode of Can’t Pay We’ll Take it Away.

They added: “I could hear some banging on the door, I knew something was going on but to be quite honest I wasn’t bothered.

“I didn’t know what was going on there [in the house]. It looked like bailiffs were coming round.” 

Others reported police being seen at Genoa Court at around midday, and police vans lining the street of Corunna Main at around 2pm however it is unconfirmed what time the raids started.

A 26-year-old man from Andover was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine, while an 18-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman, both also from Andover, were arrested on suspicion of Class A and B drug supply. 

All three have been released under investigation.

The Missing and Exploited Team aims to safeguard young people believed to be at risk of exploitation, as well as targeting perpetrators and managing missing people.

Speaking on Wednesday, Detective Inspector Ross Toms said: “Operations like the one today are only possible by working with communities and our partners.

“We can take action but we need information to build up a picture of what is happening and identify the risks to young people.

 “I would encourage all parents, teachers, and others who work with young people to be aware of the signs a child could be being exploited and contact us and one of our partners.”

To contact the police, call 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.