Hundreds of police officers descended on homes early this morning (Wednesday, January 10) in a bid to crack down on organised crime.

Suspects got an early morning wake-up call as more than 200 officers from Cheshire Constabulary executed warrants in Cheshire, North Wales and Merseyside as part of a high-profile policing operation.

Seventeen people from Winsford , Warrington, Merseyside and North Wales were arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A and B drugs and are all currently in custody helping police with their enquiries. Officers also recovered seven firearms during the raids.

The early morning strike phase is the result of a lengthy and complex investigation carried out by Cheshire police officers and focused on an organised crime group well known in Warrington who are suspected of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.

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Detective Superintendent Aaron Duggan, head of crime at Cheshire Constabulary, said: “Today’s coordinated arrest activity comes after 12-months of hard work.

"A dedicated team of officers have worked hard to gather evidence and intelligence while protecting vulnerable members of the community from those suspected of being involved in serious and organised crime."

He explained: "I am particularly pleased that this operation has reduced a significant number of firearms that were in circulation. Obviously the possibility of the criminal use of the firearms was a key threat we addressed, our action will, I hope, reassure the community that we will tackle serious crime in a positive way.

“The investigation focused on one influential and established organised crime group in Warrington who are suspected of being involved in the supply of cocaine and cannabis within the local community.

“The action taken by officers reinforces Cheshire Constabulary’s commitment to proactively target, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of being involved in organised crime.”

Specialist officers were used to gain entry to the properties and officers are now carrying out detailed searches of all the addresses.

DS Duggan added: “Today’s action can only continue if people keep coming forward with information to help us tackle serious and organised crime. I encourage anyone who has any information about organised crime activity in their community, to do the right thing and report it to us.

“If you do not feel comfortable speaking to a police officer then you can pass information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 .”