COMMUNITY leaders have praised the success of a massive police operation targeting drug dealers on Keighley's streets.

Twenty people have now been jailed, for a combined total of nearly 70 years, as a result of Operation Saucerlake.

As the last two men were locked-up this week following the crackdown, tribute was paid to those who helped bring the offenders to justice.

Town mayor, Councillor Mohammed Nazam, said the initiative sent out a clear message that drug dealing in Keighley would not be tolerated.

"The result of this operation is excellent news for the town," he added.

"Congratulations go to the police team for its fantastic work. I'm sure it wasn't an easy investigation.

"We must continue to tackle the issue of drugs on our streets and the town council will do whatever it can to support the police in this."

Keighley MP John Grogan said arrests and subsequent convictions for drugs offences were now occurring in the town at a much greater rate than for years.

He added: "Police intelligence has I think improved considerably and those involved in drugs gangs in the town are much more fearful that they will be the next to be on the wrong end of a dawn raid from the strong arm of the law.

"I would encourage the people of Keighley to keep the flow of information to the police about drugs offenders coming, especially by phoning the Crimestoppers number."

On one day alone of Operation Saucerlake, more than £10,000 worth of drugs were recovered from over 800 street deals.

Mobile phones, cash and drugs paraphernalia were also seized for further analysis.

Imran Hussain, 27, and Akaf Hussain, 31, both of Malsis Road, Keighley, were the last of those charged to be sentenced.

They were jailed for four years and two months and three years and four months respectively when they appeared at Bradford Crown Court on Monday.

Prosecutor Abigail Langford told the court that the pair had been charged via their involvement in the ‘Marco’ selling line.

Imran Hussain gave wraps of heroin to undercover police on September 8 and 19 last year, with Akaf Hussain caught after completing a deal involving the same drug on September 13.

The court heard that both men had previous convictions for supplying Class A drugs.

Operation Saucerlake – launched last January – was led by the Keighley police neighbourhood team, working with specialist resources from the West Yorkshire force.

It was initiated after concerns were raised by residents with incoming inspector Khalid Khan.

He said: “It was clear from my discussions with the people of Keighley that there was a lot of concern about the supply of drugs in the town.

“Following enquiries, we were able to identify suspects and then work with other colleagues at West Yorkshire Police to develop an arrest operation.

“This saw numerous raids on addresses across the Keighley area and beyond which recovered various quantities of Class A and B drugs, cash, mobile phones and other items of interest for further investigation.

“As the investigation developed a number of other suspects emerged and these were duly identified and dealt with.”

In total, 31 males – aged from 14 to 45 – were charged under the operation.

Speaking after the final sentences had been passed, Insp Khan added: "We would like to thank the communities of Keighley for their support of Operation Saucerlake, which we believe has impacted on the supply of illegal drugs in the town.

“Illegal drugs will not be tolerated in Keighley and I hope this operation and its results demonstrate that we do take these concerns very seriously.

“We hope it will also serve as a warning to others involved in the supply of drugs that we will act on any information we receive to identify you, arrest you and do everything we can to bring you before the courts.”

Crimestoppers can be contacted, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.