Crack cocaine, cash and a suspected stolen dog were among the items recovered during police raids in Barnard Castle this morning.

It was an unwelcome wake-up call for five men who were arrested as part of the early morning operation which targeted three different addresses in King Street, The Bank and Churchill Road.

More than 30 officers came together to act on the raids, including those from Neighbourhoods, CID, the Roads Policing Unit and Dog Section.

The action comes after intelligence suggested crack cocaine was being supplied in the town.

One man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft of a three-year-old English bulldog.

The dog was unharmed and also taken into custody while enquiries are ongoing to locate its owner.

Four other men were arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to supply and are also in custody.

Inspector Ed Turner, who led the investigation, said: “These incidents are very rare in Barnard Castle but when we have intelligence that illegal drugs are causing harm to our residents, we will act.

“This morning’s raids were a result of a culmination of several initiatives involving officers from across the force and we want to send a strong message that dealing drugs is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“We will always act on intelligence and encourage anyone with information to continue to help us make Barnard Castle and the Dales a safe place to live and work.”

If you suspect illegal activity is taking place, call 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.