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Update on Twitter storm over drugs raids linked to Carnival

RAIDED: A man is arrested in the south London borough of Lewisham after police carried out an early-morning operation yesterday

A METROPOLITAN Police operation which took down suspected drug dealers in south London early yesterday (August 22) morning was the subject of ridicule on Twitter, when an ambiguously-worded post from the force's verified account linking the Catford raid to Notting Hill Carnival was posted. The Metropolitan Police issued a statement verifying the alleged link between the post and the August Bank Holiday event.

1,000 people and counting replied to the Tweet, which showed an image of the drugs with the caption, "In the run up to #NottingHillCarnival, officers have this morning seized what is believed to be a kilo of uncut heroin in #Catford". Most replies questioned the link between the heroin seized south of the capital and the west London festival and many expressed ridicule, with one user (@SarfEastCaff) saying:

"In the run up to #NottingHillCarnival I've decided to buy a new vacuum cleaner. What's the carnival got to do with it??"

Others began to post pictures of their dogs under blankets, linking this random act to the Carnival, after user @Carli_F replied with a photo of her dog lying on a sofa in Hemel Hempstead:

Stormzy Tweeted what he said was a "Genuine question" in response to the raids, "How many drugs did you lot seize in the run up to Glastonbury or we only doing tweets like this for black events?"

Much of the other social media commentary on the incident also detected racial overtones. @EnClaudeNeuf replied:

"Oh trust me they know. Bare perpetuating stereotypes. But this won't dim Carnival's glow. Let them keep chatting sh*t."

@Caulibroc added:

"In the run up to #NottingHillCarnival @metpoliceuk remind us that they're still instituationally [sic] racist."

A hash tag has since emerged, further ridiculing the Met's original post. Users are anchoring Tweets with '#InTheRunUpToNottingHillCarnival', highlighting the poorly-worded post further.

The Met attempted to clarify what they see as the link between seizing the drugs and the Carnival:

"To date, officers have made more than 290 arrests for a range of offences recovering 190 knives and 18 firearms. This activity will continue during the week, and will include weapon sweeps, stop and search, youth engagement and ANPR operations.

"As part of this operation, at 04:00hrs this morning, Tuesday, 22 August, officers from Kensington and Chelsea and Lewisham boroughs carried out two intelligence-led proactive operations. Today’s activity was targeting individuals where officers had intelligence to suggest that they were planning to commit crime at Carnival.

"The arrests were predominantly for possession with intent to supply drugs. Some of those arrested this week may be bailed pending further enquiries and will have bail conditions imposed on them, prohibiting them from attending Carnival."

Notting Hill Carnival 2017 is expected to attract roughly 2 million people from all over the world, whilst bringing in around £93 million to the UK economy. Policing the event is said to cost around £6 million.

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