A POLICE team dedicated to "turning up the heat" on drug dealers seized £1.25million of amphetamine and 50 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine in its first week.

The team, known as Operation Eagle, has been given the remit to tackle Class A drug dealing in the Eastern Division, covering Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley.

It follows a trend in Lancashire Police of specialised teams, with units for burglary and vehicle crime having been successful.

The unit, including detectives and uniformed officers, will concentrate on following up information passed to them from the public.

Detective Inspector Simon Giles, who is heading the team, said: "This new unit allows us to really focus in on the suppliers and turn up the heat.

"While we in Eastern Division have always been aware that drugs dealers have a big impact on the lives of the law-abiding public, we now have the resources to tackle them more effectively.

"By tackling the root causes of those crimes we should be able to make a real difference to the communities of Eastern Division."

The team has been working for just over a week and have already seized 50 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine from a house in Whalley Old Road and £1.25million of amphetamine from Calder Street - both Blackburn.

But is will not just be about enforcement. The unit will help send individuals into the police's acclaimed Tower Project, which is an intensive rehabilitative programme for those who commit crime to fund drugs habits.

Superintendent Warren Turner, operations manager at Eastern Division, added: "This also helps them find permanent housing, assists with benefits and encourages them into employment.

"A lot of work being is being put into rehabilitating prolific offenders who are dependant on drugs to help put some order into their chaotic lifestyles."