Six people have been arrested and nail bars searched in connection with an investigation into suspected illegal immigration and cannabis production.
A team of police officers carried out dawn raids at addresses in Blackburn, Bolton and Darwen today (Tuesday December 10) arresting two men and four women.
The action, codenamed ‘Operation Canvas’ is looking at the alleged employment of Vietnamese nationals, believed to have entered the country illegally.
Searches have also taken place at four nail bars where it is believed some of these people may be working at Blackburn Road in Bolton, Church Street in Blackburn, Higher Church Street in Blackburn and Railway Road, Blackburn.
Previous enquiries linked to the investigation have identified evidence of cannabis production at properties in Tottington, Turton, Billington and Walsall.
Four people are currently in police custody, having been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to produce cannabis, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and possession of items for use in fraud.
They are a 48-year-old man from Darwen, a 34-year-old woman from Darwen, a 29-year-old woman from Darwen and a 35-year-old woman from Bolton
A woman, aged 41 and man aged 57, both from Blackburn have also been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Two people have previously been arrested and charged in connection with Op Canvas.
Oa Dong Ho, 24, of Sunnymere Drive, Darwen and Thuy Nguyen, 54, of Harwood Street, Darwen have been charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Oa Dong Ho has been remanded in custody and Nguyen has been bailed.
DS Stu Peall of the East Exploitation Team, said: “While we have made a number of arrests today, our investigation is very much on-going.
“Today’s activity shows our commitment to tackling this issue and we want more people to come forward with their concerns. We welcome community intelligence and would ask that if you are aware of any suspicious activity in your area that you please get in touch.”
Anyone with information or concerns should call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.