POLICE drugs raiders were left red-faced last week - when they burst into the wrong flat.
Officers raided a ground floor flat on Cloudesley Road last Friday morning as part of a week-long anti-drugs operation known as Operation Lasso.
But they were left apologising to a startled occupant after crashing through the door to the downstairs flat, instead of the side door leading to the upstairs lodgings.
Owner Mike Thorpe, 50, was informed of the gaffe by his flatmate, who was getting ready for work when the police stormed in. Mr Thorpe was at work at the time of the incident.
He said: "He was pretty shaken up. I suppose anyone would be if they were sitting around and something like that happened.
"It doesn't look good for my neighbours to see my front door smashed in."
Mr Thorpe owns all five of the flats at that address. His flat is on the ground floor, and access can be gained to the other four flats from the side door.
After they were informed of their mistake, officers proceeded to the side door, which they also broke down.
An occupant from one of the flats was consequently arrested.
The man was just one of several arrested after 18 months of investigation culminated in raids on more than 15 premises in the area.
The police have agreed to fund the repairs to the doors, which could cost as much as £300. But Mr Thorpe believes the damage could have been avoided, since officers visiting the suspect three weeks ago had made a similar mistake.
He said: "They came by about three weeks ago to arrest the same tenant.
"They knocked on my door at about 4am back then, and I pointed them out their mistake.
"I'm not happy about the way this turned out, especially since they should have known where the guy was this time."
Sussex Police chief inspector Trevor Bowles said: "This was a very regretable incident.
"The matter is clearly under investigation, and I would like to apologise unreservedly to the owner involved for this mistake."
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