Manchester Police target 'Mr Bigs' of organised crime in dawn raids

 

Police have launched a series of early morning raids against the “Mr Bigs” of organised crime.

Officers smashed through doors at suspects' addresses in an operation aimed at crime families and gangs involved in everything from drug dealing, loan-sharking and theft to benefit fraud.

The focus of Operation Challenger is to target major criminals using a fresh approach and a new plan of attack, police said.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, who is Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) commander for the operation, said: "This is not about cutting off the arm of an organised crime group, but dismantling it piece by piece, member by member.

"It is about agencies pooling their resources to target every facet of a criminal's life, putting them under so much pressure it is impossible for them to operate.

"If you want to bring down the so-called 'Mr Bigs', you need to strip away their empire. And when you start to pull on the threads of what appears to be minor offences, the whole empire begins to unravel.

"That means taking away their means of transport by targeting the people who chauffeur them around. It means stopping them from obtaining mortgages they cannot legitimately afford to buy second properties used to rake in more cash through rental scams, often bullying tenants into paying exorbitant prices.

"It means closing down certain pubs and clubs so these criminals can't use them as a haven to deal drugs and line their pockets."

A new crime fighting hub has been established at GMP's HQ, which aims to fight organised gangs not just by police action but also by going after criminal assets and rackets.

The group includes representatives from organisations working with police including the Home Office, Border Agency, DVLA, local authorities, social services and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The team will investigate every area of a targeted criminal's life, including their business interests, properties, benefits, associates, as well as their involvement in drug dealing and firearms.

The operation has the support of the Home Office and is being piloted in the Tameside and north Manchester areas, with a view to rolling it out across Greater Manchester and potentially on a national scale in future months.

Since using the new approach in May, a number of major criminals have been charged with serious offences, with more than 100 arrests and drugs and cash worth £70,000 seized.

GMP Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy added: "Organised crime groups can have an insidious effect on our communities, creating a culture of fear and intimidation and making people's lives a misery.

"Time and time again, agencies are dealing with the same people from the same families, which is both a huge drain on resources and the public purse.

"These people have to be stopped which is why we have created this team who will identify who these individuals are, which criminal networks they belong to and look at every possible means of disrupting their lives."

PA

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The number of GP practices with 10 or more doctors has grown by 75 per cent
science
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game