Nine arrested in dawn drugs raids across North of England
Nine people have been arrested and significant amounts of cannabis, cocaine and heroin have been seizedÂ in drugs raids across the North of England.
Properties in Blackpool and Preston were among those raised in the operation led by Merseyside Police.
Simultaneous dawn raids took place in Blackpool, Merseyside, Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, and Stockton in Cleveland.
On Merseyside, 14 warrants were executed in Maghull, Thornton, Bootle, Old Swan, Anfield and Kirkby resulting in nine arrests. Searches at those properties are on-going. Officers have recovered approximately £30,000 in cash and two kilos of cannabis from an address in Old Swan and £1000 in cash from an address in Kirkby.
Four warrants were executed in Lancashire in the Preston, Blackpool and Nelson areas and one person arrested.
Two warrants have been executed in Cumbria in the Barrow area and two people arrested and three warrants have been executed in Cleveland in the Stockton area and three people arrested.
The operation is the result of a lengthy and complex investigation by Merseyside Police, with support from Lancashire Police, Cumbria Police, and Cleveland Police, into the widespread supply of heroin, cocaine and cannabis from Merseyside to other parts of England and Wales.
There were significant drug seizures of both Class A and B drugs, including more than 70kgs of cannabis with a street value of more than £1m.
Multi kilo amounts of cocaine and heroin have also been seized, with an estimated street value of more than £250,000.
Superintendent Paul White from Merseyside Police said: “The action taken by police officers this morning in Merseyside and other parts of the UK is a key part of an on-going investigation into a criminal network we suspect of distributing large quantities of Class A drugs from here in Merseyside to other towns and cities.
“The arrest of nine people this morning is the result of a lot of meticulous, hard work by the investigation team.
“Class A drugs blight the lives of the people who become addicted to them. Some addicts can then go on to fund their habit through acquisitive crime, including burglary, theft and robbery, and this has a negative impact on the lives of people living in the communities where drug dealers and organised crime groups operate.
“Criminals involved in the supply and distribution of controlled drugs don't care about the impact that their illicit trade has on decent members of the public, all they care about is the money they can make. They think they are untouchable and they live a lifestyle that is beyond their means and often have no legitimate employment to account for the money which pays for their fancy holidays and designer clothes.
"Today, using new legislation under the Proceeds of Crime Act we will be looking to seize high value items which we believe have been bought through money made through criminal enterprise, including drug dealing. These items will go to auction and the bitter sweet irony, for those involved in serious organised crime on Merseyside, is that nearly 20 per cent of the money raised through the sale of these items will go back in to fighting crime.
"Our message to those involved in drug supply on Merseyside is that you cannot escape justice and there are no borders, we will work with other forces to relentlessly pursue those profiting from serious organised crime.
“No-one should have to put up with drug dealing and the associated violence and gun crime it often brings. We will work with our communities to improve the quality of life for decent, law-abiding people and I would urge people to keep helping us do that by reporting any drug dealing or gun crime to the police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”