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EMMERDALE star Paul Loughran was seized by police yesterday in a major drugs raid.

Loughran, who plays dimwit Butch Dingle in the TV soap, was arrested at his home as officers made dawn swoops on a string of addresses.

The 28-year-old actor was held on suspicion of supplying drugs, believed to be cocaine.

Last night he was released on police bail while further inquiries are carried out. Loughran was among six men and a woman held in raids across West Yorkshire. Police pounced after a two-week operation.

Loughran, a favourite with Emmerdale fans, was arrested at his end-of-terrace home in Rothwell, Leeds.

Next-door neighbour Peter Towning saw the early-morning drama.

Mr Towning, in his 60s, said: "I knew something was going on when I saw several men burst into his house. I didn't realise it was anything to do with the police or drugs.

"The street is very quiet and not the sort of place you would expect to see the police.

"Mr Loughran tends to keep himself to himself. I see him most days and he is always very polite. He always says hello and sometimes stops for a quick chat."

Mr Towning added: "It will come as quite a shock to the neighbourhood to hear that he has been arrested. No one would ever expect him to be in trouble.

"He is nothing like the obnoxious and loud character he plays - quite the opposite. Paul is very sociable and never causes any bother.

"He is quite a popular character on the street. There are always lots of youngsters about wanting to talk to him and get his autograph."

Loughran, who joined Emmerdale in 1994 as one of the pig-farming Dingle clan, shares his pounds 50,000 house with his wife and best pal Daz Green. He drives a BMW.

Three men and a woman, who were being quizzed at Eccleshill and Killingbeck police stations, were also freed on police bail last night. Two other men were still being questioned.

An Emmerdale spokeswoman confirmed the arrest of Belfast-born Loughran, whose real name is Paul Ryder.

She said filming was continuing as normal and cast members had no comment.

As Butch Dingle, Paul was involved in a major storyline when he stalked Zoe Tate's lesbian lover Sophie Wright after he had a one-night stand with her.

Butch begged her to spurn Zoe - and later got a thrashing from dad Zak who disapproved of his antics.

Actor Paul is a jungle music DJ on a local radio station.

He socialises with Emmerdale co-stars Lisa Riley, who plays curvy Mandy Dingle, and Johnny Leeze - Ned Glover in the ITV show.

Last night the star's three- bedroomed house, which overlooks a graveyard, was in darkness. Downstairs blinds were drawn.

No one answered the front door. Loughran's front garden is overgrown with weeds and long grass in an otherwise tidy area. The leafy private street is lit by two lamps.

West Yorkshire police confirmed last night that a 28-year-old man had been bailed pending further inquiries.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Graham, Polly
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 4, 1998
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