Six arrested after dawn raids in Morecambe disrupt one of the North's biggest organised crime gangs
Six people have today (Wednesday, May 8) been arrested as part of a Lancashire Police investigation into an organised criminal gang.
Five men and a woman have been arrested after 200 police officers from three forces raided 13 properties in Morecambe and County Durham in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, May 8).
The raids were part of an ongoing investigation into an organised criminal gang suspected of burglaries and thefts at homes and shops across the North of England in the past 12 months.
The offences, committed across north Lancashire and northern England, include high value commercial plant theft, stealing ATMs and cash in transit thefts, as well as burglaries at domestic properties.
Detectives believe the gang, operating out of Morecambe and Durham, to be responsible for thefts and burglaries totalling more than £1million.
The gang are also alleged to be responsible for a number of cash in transit robberies in Lancashire last year.
The raids were a joint operation between three forces - Lancashire Police, Cumbria Police and Durham Police.
Lancashire Police, with the assistance of Durham Constabulary and Cumbria Constabulary, arrested five men from the Bishop Auckland area of Durham on suspicion of Conspiracy to Commit Theft.
The force also arrested a woman from Morecambe on suspicion of Conspiracy to Commit Theft. She also remains in custody.
Police will continue to search a number of homes today in the Durham and Morecambe areas in connection with the investigation.
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Smith, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: "Firstly we’d like to thank our colleagues in Durham and Cumbria constabularies for their assistance in the coordinating and planning of today’s activity.
"Today’s arrests are the latest stage of a long running investigation into an organised criminal gang which we believe is responsible for a large number of thefts which have been committed across the north of England in the last year.
“The activities of organised gangs can have a dramatic effect on our communities, causing fear in our neighbourhoods and causing businesses to suffer.
"We will not stand for this in Lancashire and we hope today’s activity shows our commitment to tackling this type of crime.
"We’d also like to remind members of the public that we rely on their information to make us aware of this type of criminal activity, so that we can investigate and continue to disrupt organised gangs.
"I would encourage anyone who feels that they have information to get in touch.”