In the last three weeks South Yorkshire Police officers have raided almost 40 homes across Rotherham and discovered £7,000 worth of mephedrone - meow-meow or M-Cat - £20,000 in cash as well as cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine and ketamine.
In their latest raid on the hunt for mephedrone on Wednesday , officers discovered a six cannabis plants under the stairs of a Thurcroft home, with a potential street value of £3,000. They also discovered a rifle, machete and several baseball bats.
A 27-year-old was arrested on possession of a class A and class B drug and production of cannabis and has since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
Earlier in the day they raided a family home in Maltby where traces of methedrone were discovered.
The number of people using mephedrone has increased over the past year which has resulted in a rise in drug related violent crime, acquisitive crime and general anti-social behaviour.
Acting Detective Sergeant Jamie Henderson, who is leading the raids, said methadrone is becoming an increasing problem, especially in Dinnington and Maltby.
In response to the problems posed by mephedrone, Rotherham Police have commenced Operation Cactus - a multi-agency operation aimed at targeting the use and supply of the drug.
Acting DS Henderson said: “M-cat is what’s causing us most problems at the moment - people just don’t realise how messed up it makes them.”
“One of the concerning features of many reports about mephedrone use it the once users have started using the drug in a particular session, it is often very hard to stop, with compulsive use leading to violence, insomnia and hallucinations.”
“Our targeted areas are intelligence led.”
“There have been a number of recent serious offences where the offender has told us through a drugs intervention worker about certain areas.”
“It is vitally important that the community and the police work together to beat this type of crime. Every piece of intelligence received is taken seriously and acted upon.”
“Should anyone have information regarding drug supply then please report it to the police or anonymously through Crimestoppers.”
Mephedrone was reclassified in 2010 and is now controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is graded as a class B drug.
Sometimes called M-CAT, meow meow, bubbles or plant food, mephedrone is a stimulant which is closely related to amphetamines.
According to police, its availability is key to its popularity. At around a £10-£15 a gram, it is cheaper than a large bottle of vodka and around a quarter of the price of cocaine.