Heroin dealing at a seaside town has been dealt a body blow, claim police.

An under cover police operation has led to 25 arrests at Redcar ; 19 people charged with conspiracy to supply heroin, supplying heroin and possession with intent to supply heroin. Of those charged 15 remain in custody.

Police say the covert Operation Jericho has had a "massive'' effect on the availability of the Class A drug in and around Redcar.

There has been a marked decrease in burglary and theft from motor vehicles and an increase in people asking for drug treatment.

"We are extremely pleased with the results this operation has brought,'' said Detectivce Sergeant Mick Knapper of Langbaurgh Police Drug Unit.

It shows what a small team of police officers using up-to-date intelligence and information provided by the local community can achieve.''

Inspector Dave Mead, who was the senior investigating officer for the operation, said yesterday: "The public are sick and tired of drug dealers openly dealing on our streets. Some of those targeted in this operation thought they were untouchable. This clearly sends out a message that there is no such thing. If people who choose to supply controlled drugs ignore the warnings, the drug unit will come looking for them. They will be caught and sent to jail.''