Eight Arrests In Wigan As Police Tackle Drug Dealing

Officers in Wigan have arrested 8 people and seized drugs, cash, ammunition and prestige cars in the battle against drug dealing.

Five men and three women were arrested when officers raided six addresses in Worsley Mesnes, Poolstock and Winstanley at 6am today, Wednesday 22 June 2011.

Two cannabis farms, what is believed to be class A drugs, drug paraphernalia, cash, ammunition, computer equipment and four cars have been seized in the raids, which were carried out jointly by officers from the Wigan Division and Tactical Aid Unit.

One of the cannabis farms was discovered after officers discovered a secret panel in a dog kennel, which led to a tunnel and, in turn, the cannabis farm.

The addresses will 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.

The raids are the result of an intelligence-led operation, under the codename Operation 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 already raided three other addresses in the area the previous week and arrested three others, who have since been bailed, pending further inquiries.

Superintendent Stuart Ellison, from Greater Manchester Police's Wigan Division and 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 555 111, or find the details for their neighbourhood policing team at gmp.police.uk.