TWO homes in Prestwich were raided by police on Wednesday as part of a synchronised dawn swoop by 250 police.

And yesterday, Delroy Oswald Edwards (41) was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs after being arrested at a house in Sherbourne Court.

A man who police were expecting to find at a second address in Prestwich was later arrested in Gorton.

A number of houses in central and southern Manchester were raided at the same time as the Prestwich properties. Police say 38 people were arrested and substantial amounts of crack cocaine, heroin, cannabis and cash were removed from some of the houses. A total of 18 men and three women were later charged with drugs offences.

"Operation Hill" involved plain clothes and uniform officers, detectives, the Dogs Section and the Tactical Aid Unit. The motorcycle unit set up road blocks as a convoy of Tactical Aid Unit vans made their way to the addresses. Warrants were executed under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Those arrested in the raids -- codenamed Operation Hill -- will be given the chance to speak to independent drugs workers and take advantage of the Arrest Referral Scheme, a counselling and treatment programme designed to deal with drug abuse behaviour and actions.

Detective Inspector Colin Webb, who led the operation said: "Operation Hill re-enforces our commitment to tackling drug dealers and follows on from the hard work of other successful operations last year.

"The sale of drugs brings other problems to a neighbourhood, such as street crime, and will often intimidate those who live there. In many areas the offenders were openly selling drugs from cars and phone boxes, and on street corners, creating fear in the local community."

Superintendent John Brinnand, sub-divisional commander for Longsight, said: "I would like to thank all the officers who have worked extremely hard gathering intelligence over the past few months and making today's arrests.

"Operation Hill is primarily targeted against the supply of crack cocaine

and heroin, but also addresses the wider problem of criminality.

"We have had tremendous success so far but I would like to stress that our work does not stop here. We have listened to our communities' concerns about gangs who sell drugs on their streets. They can rest assured that this operation is part of a long-term objective to rid the streets of drugs and their related problems and to make the communities safer places to live. "

Assistant Chief Constable David Whatton addressed the officers involved in Operation Hill - the first large-scale operation since his appointment as ACC for Crime Operations.

ACC David Whatton said: "The raids are a culmination of months of hard work and will have a dramatic impact not only in the local areas, but also in the wider community.

"Operation Hill forms part of a long-term strategy for dealing with drug

related issues in Greater Manchester and emphasizes our ongoing commitment to tackling this sort of crime.

"I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the people of Greater

Manchester that GMP, alongside partner agencies such as Communities Against Drugs (CAD) and Manchester Multi-Agency Gang Strategy (MMAGS), are taking positive action and will continue to tackle the problem of Class A drugs which blights the local communities and ruins people's lives."