The fight against organised crime and illegal drugs is continuing in Cheshire.
A total of 28 people have now been arrested today as part of a high-profile operation.
More than 300 officers from Cheshire Constabulary made an impact across Warrington during the early morning strike phase.
Detective Inspector Gary McIntyre, who is in charge of the operation, said: "The action taken today as part of Operation Impact is as the result of a six-month long investigation focusing on a number of different organised crime gangs and their associated illegal drug related activity in the Warrington area. The operation was launched as a result of intelligence, which was passed on by the local community.
"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 as it is only a matter of time before we catch up with you."
A total of 32 addresses were targeted in total. The majority were in Warrington – in the town centre, Poplars and Orford areas of the town along with 9 addresses in Liverpool and 3 in St Helens. Officers from Merseyside Police provided assistance across the border.
Those arrested were on suspicion of Class A (Heroin and Crack Cocaine) drugs offences – they are currently all in custody helping police with their enquiries.
Specialist officers were used 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 in which Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts acknowledged the work undertaken as part of the operation and reinforced the Constabulary’s commitment to tackling organised crime.
Assistant Chief Constable Roberts said: "Cheshire Constabulary is continuing to make its mark - the strike phase today has been one of the biggest for the force. 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.
"One of our key commitments is that we are here for the local community – and operations such as this underpin that commitment for the people of Cheshire. It also reflects how closely we work in partnership with other forces and organisations to ensure that together we bring those responsible for this type of crime to justice."
Operation Impact continues to go from strength to strength and has recently seen the conclusion of a high-profile case in Macclesfield in which 39 people, who were involved in supplying drugs in the town, were collectively jailed for almost 125 years.
Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said: "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.
"Having seen the threat posed by organised criminal gangs, removing those involved in this activity from our communities is paramount and sends a strong message that they are not welcome in our county.
"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 would like to assure the people of Cheshire that this type of action will continue."
Chief Inspector Pete Shaw, who is responsible for policing in Warrington, added: "Today we have seen a large number of arrests and police activity across Warrington. Local officers 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.
"Information from the public is vital in the fight against this type of crime and I would also encourage anyone who has any information about organised crime or drug related activity in their community to come forward. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to a police officer – information can be passed on anonymously, via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."
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.