Posted on Tuesday 28th February

Twelve people have been arrested this morning following a series of dawn raids by Cheshire police.

The warrants, at addresses in Merseyside and Hampshire, are part of the forces continued fight against organised crime and illegal drugs.

More than 100 officers from Cheshire led operation which focused on individuals based outside the county who are suspected of supplying illegal drugs in Cheshire. The operation was also supported by officers from TITAN, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit

Detective Inspector Giles Pierce, who is in charge of the operation, said:  "The action taken today as part of Operation Impact is the culmination of an eight month investigation into the supply of Class A drugs from Liverpool into Cheshire.

"The strike phase this morning is the result of months of hard work and evidence and intelligence gathering by a dedicated team of officers focusing on a number of people suspected of being involved in this type of crime.

"We have seen first-hand how illegal drugs can ruin lives and devastate communities and residents should not have to live in fear or intimidation of this sort of illegal activity taking place in their neighbourhoods.

"Operation Impact reinforces the commitment of Cheshire Constabulary in proactively targeting, disrupting and dismantling organised crime gangs.  We will not tolerate those who choose to come into Cheshire believing it is an easy target - be warned that no matter where you live it is only a matter of time before we catch up with you."

Eleven addresses were targeted in total; nine in Liverpool, along with an address in St Helens and one in Hampshire. In addition three suspects were produced from prison.

The ten men and two women have all been arrested on suspicion of Class A drugs offences – they are currently all in police custody helping officers with their enquiries.

As a result of the warrants officers seized five vehicles and recovered a significant a significant quantity of drugs and cash.

Specialist officers were deployed to gain entry to the properties and officers, who are experts in search techniques, are now carrying out detailed inspections of all the addresses.

The warrants were executed following a dawn briefing during which Assistant Chief Constable Darren Martland acknowledged the work undertaken as part of the operation and reinforced the Constabulary’s commitment to tackling organised crime.

Assistant Chief Constable Martland said:  "Operation Impact reinforces the commitment of Cheshire Constabulary in proactively targeting those people that undermine our communities and bring misery to residents through their involvement in organised crime and illegal drugs.

“There is no place in Cheshire for organised crime and we want to get the message across loud and clear that if you come into Cheshire to commit crime you will be targeted, located and positive action will be taken.

“We’re here for communities and today’s operation demonstrates our commitment to the people of Cheshire to make our communities safer.”

Operation Impact continues to go from strength to strength and has recently seen the conclusion of a high-profile case in Warrington in which 33 people, who were involved in supplying drugs in the town, were collectively jailed for over 100 years.

Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said:  “Drugs have a detrimental impact on our communities and Cheshire residents have told me that drugs are a key local issue for them and tackling the issue of drug misuse and supply is of the utmost importance to me.

"The proactive approach taken by the Constabulary today is essential in providing reassurance to our communities that the issue of drugs and organised crime is being taken seriously and that residents have a police service committed to keeping them safe.

"I would like to thank all of the officers and staff involved in the operation for the dedication and commitment that they have shown and I will be working with the Chief Constable to ensure that this type of action continues."

Detective Inspector Giles Pierce added:  "Following this morning’s operation local officers from Merseyside Police will remain in the area to provide reassurance for local residents.  If anyone has any issues or concerns I would urge them to speak directly to a neighbourhood officer.