COCAINE, ammunition and prestige cars have been seized in one of the most significant drug ring crackdowns for years.
And during a co-ordinated series of dawn raids yesterday, police also uncovered two cannabis farms, one which could only be accessed through a dog kennel!
Five men and three women were also arrested when officers raided six addresses in Worsley Mesnes, Poolstock and Winstanley at 6am on Wednesday.
Two cannabis farms, what is believed to be class A drugs, drug paraphernalia, cash, ammunition, computer equipment and four cars were all seized in the raids, which were carried out jointly by officers from the Wigan Division and Tactical Aid Unit.
One of the illicit crops was discovered after officers found a secret panel in a dog kennel, which led to a tunnel and, in turn, the cannabis farm in a garage.
The addresses – two on Baker Street, Poolstock, Poolstock Lane, Clap Gate Lane, in Goose Green, and Mottram Drive and Macauley Place in Worsley Mesnes – continued to be searched throughout the day and a financial investigator will begin assessing what, if any, assets are held as the result of criminals profiting from drug dealing or other illegal activities.
Police say the raids are the result of an intelligence-led operation, under the codename Hotspur, and came about after the community raised concerns over drug dealing in the area with the Pemberton Neighbourhood Policing Team.
The eight were arrested on suspicion of a variety of offences, including being concerned in the production of cannabis, and being concerned in the supply of cocaine and firearms offences. They remain in police custody for questioning.
Officers from the Operation Hotspur team had already raided three other addresses in the area the previous week and arrested three others, who have since been bailed, pending further inquiries.
lTurn to page 3
Supt Stuart Ellison of Wigan Police, who was commander for the raids, said: “This is all about the community: they told us they believed there was a problem and we listened to them, investigated and the culmination of those inquiries were the raids this morning.
“Already, we have a great result in finding these drugs and preventing them from getting onto the streets.
“Now we will look at other ways to deal with anything else we find at these addresses connected to criminal activity – and we will seize and freeze assets where we suspect something illegal is involved.
“Today sends out a clear message: no one is untouchable – we will seek to take out not only the illegal sources of income, but the goods and belongings that have been bought as a result of criminality.”
Anyone with information about drugs in their community can report their concerns on 0161 872 5050, through Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111, or find the details for their neighbourhood policing team at gmp.police.uk.