South Wales Police has led a major operation to target organised crime on both sides of the Severn Bridge resulting in eight arrests and the seizure of cash and drugs.
In a series of simultaneous early morning raids at 10 addresses across South Wales and the west of England eight people – seven men and one woman – were arrested.
Today’s action brings to an end a two and a half year operation resulting in the total seizure of 7,500 cannabis plants worth an estimated £3.5m and more than £400,000 in cash.
South Wales Police officers were joined by colleagues from Gwent Police, Avon and Somerset Police, as well as staff from the UK Border Agency, Fire and Ambulance services.
Detective Inspector Paul Latham, who led the operation, said:
“Operation Pristina was put in place to target individuals believed to be involved in the cultivation and supply of cannabis across South Wales and the west of England.
“During the course of this operation we have successfully disrupted many of those who have been suspected of dealing in drugs.
“This demonstrates the close partnership working with our colleagues and partners on both sides of the River Severn to tackle drugs.”
A cannabis factory in Cardiff was shut down as part of the culmination of Operation Prestina
Operation Pristina was launched in October 2010 and has led to 26 properties being searched, including 10 today (26 February) in Cardiff, Newport, Bath and Bristol.
Around 130 police officers were involved in simultaneous dawn raids including one on the Eastgate Business Park in Cardiff where a large cannabis factory was found and has since been dismantled.
After the properties were searched, PCSOs delivered leaflets to neighbouring homes advising local householders of the police activity.
DI Latham added:
“Eight people have been taken into custody today, a major cannabis factory has been taken out of use and several thousand pounds in cash have been seized.
“Drugs are a source of misery and blight communities and the message is simple – they will not be tolerated.
“Through tough enforcement and positive community engagement, we will strive to keep our communities safe and take a proactive approach against those who are suspected of drugs offences.
“Drug dealers should know that there is no hiding place, we will seek you out and bring you to justice.”
Assets, suspected of being funded by criminal activities were also seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act and will now be subject to a financial investigation.