Police have hailed a milestone in their fight against dangerous drugs in Gloucestershire, with their efforts including catching two “cuckoo in the nest dealers” who travelled from London to peddle heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Stroud.

Operation Tarak, launched in November 2016, has resulted in over 200 years of prison time for those involved in County Line drug dealing, police in Gloucestershire announced this week.

Officers working on the operation have been targeting dealers running organised drugs networks based in big cities such as Birmingham and London who are moving their operation into Gloucestershire.

Two men who took over a house of a vulnerable person in Rodborough to use it as a base for drug dealing - a practice known as ‘cuckooing’ - were sentenced as part of the operation earlier this year.

Jacob James, 19, of Middlesex and Brandon Wade, 21, of London were caught red handed with £5,300 worth of class A drugs at a property on Rodborough Avenue.

The pair - who later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin - were arrested in November along with a 16-year-old girl from Hertfordshire and a 45-year-old man from Stroud.

As officers, who had become concerned residents of an address in Stroud had become victims of cuckooing, approached the address on November 29 Wade threw a “tennis ball sized package" out of the window.

That package contained in excess of 300 wraps of cocaine and heroin with a street value of £4,500.

James and Wade were both given three year community orders in April this year, having been described as “cuckoo in the nest dealers” by prosecutor Janine Wood at Gloucester Crown Court.

At court Mrs Wood said that Wade gave a no comment interview, but James “was very frank about coming to Stroud.”

“He said he had been offered £1,000 per week for dealing drugs in Gloucestershire. He had a debt in London and feared what would happen if he didn't pay it back.

“Brandon Wade was operating with Jacob James in a rather lesser role, dealing with street dealers,” Mrs Wood said.

The girl also arrested was charged and returned to Hertfordshire while the Stroud man later pleaded guilty to encouraging or assisting the commission of drug dealing offences.

He accepted in court he allowed premises to be used to deal drugs and obstructed police officers to prevent them entering.

Aside from the Rodborough incident, since November 2016 Gloucestershire Police have arrested 200 people linked to County Lines, issuing 70 prison sentences.

Police say these dealers want to establish an operational base in counties like Gloucestershire, bringing drugs in while they manage the operation from afar.

They exploit drug runners or ‘mules’ - often vulnerable people like juveniles and adults who may be addicted to drugs or suffer from mental health issues.

Police Constable Omar Patel said: “For almost two years the Force Crime Operations Team has worked tirelessly to bring County Line offenders to justice.

“We’re supported by a dedicated analytical team who ensure we have the best evidence to achieve the results we have. We are also grateful to the Courts and Judiciary.

“With the support of the communities of Gloucestershire, partner agencies and working collaboratively with Police Forces across the UK we can continue to make Gloucestershire a place where illegal drugs will not be tolerated and County Lines dealers will not risk operating in.”

If you have any information that can help police or are concerned about drug activity in your community call 101.