Sep 8 2010 by Gordon Robertson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Cops target Langloan dealers in early morning drugs raids.
THE giant tower blocks standing over Coatbridge were shrouded in early-morning mist.
You could tell it was going to be a beautiful day.
But not for the suspected drug dealers who were lying in their beds unaware of what was about to unfold.
At Coatbridge police office, a 20-strong team of community cops were being briefed.
Two houses in the Langloan area were about to be paid a visit.
Their targets were believed to be involved in cocaine and, possibly, heroin dealing.
At 7am the officers were briefed by PC Andy Duncan before the operation started.
But they knew the drill.
After a few short minutes officers mustered at the back of the station ready for action.
A convoy of seven vehicles left the rear of the station at 7.30am.
The officers were split into two groups and were soon on their way to the homes of suspected mid-level drug dealers.
One group attended an address in Buchanan Street and the other visited nearby Langloan Street.
At both locations the officers had to take their suspects by surprise.
Using ram-it devices, they crashed through the doors in seconds before rushing in and quickly containing the movements of the occupants.
One of their first priorities is to prevent suspects disposing of evidence by, for example, flushing substances down the toilet. It is not uncommon for young children to be trained to do just that by their parents if police come through the door.
Typically, the adult occupants are handcuffed and made to sit in the living room.
They will have been shown a warrant. The police will have the real warrant with them but often the suspect is shown a copy. It is not unknown for a suspect to grab the sheet of paper and rip it up.
The Langloan Street raid had an added risk. The suspects owned a huge Japanese Akita dog, similar to the creature that left a Kilmarnock schoolgirl needing 150 stitches on her face in an horrific attack last week.
Police knew the type of animal they were dealing with so dog branch officers were among the first to go through the door.
Their equipment included an animal control shield which can deliver 50,000 volts, enough to stop any creature in its tracks.
As soon as the shield is activated and crackles to life, though, most dogs back down.
The specially-trained officers then get the dogs out of the way as soon as possible, usually into a secure room or safe spot.
At Langloan Street, the vicious-looking Akita was muzzled and put on the first floor balcony.
It could be seen from the street, standing on its hind legs with its front paws on the balcony ledge.
Along at Buchanan Street, just yards from the Time Capsule, one officer had to show a gentler side two minutes after the door was put in.
A small girl turned up at the door looking for her friend to go to school.
With the door lying in bits and officers scouring the house for drugs, the policeman admirably deflected the girl’s attention from what was going on.
He took her back to the car where her mother was waiting and explained that the school run would have one less occupant that morning.
Many police officers love these type of raids and there is usually no shortage of volunteers to take part.
It’s the sharp end of policing, fraught with danger, but officers will admit there is an adrenalin rush when the order is given for the operation to start. Just as well.
In Monklands today these operations may become even more frequent.
Sadly, drugs are rife in the area and dealers are everywhere.
But last Friday two suspected dealers had their trade interrupted, for a little while at least.
A quantity of cannabis was found at the Buchanan Street address while a quantity of a class A drug with a street value of £2000 was recovered from Langloan Street.
Reports have been sent to the procurator fiscal.