More than 20 people have been arrested and thousands of pounds in cash has been seized following the first phase of a clampdown on organised crime.
Operation Caminada, which was launched on 21 November 2011, is Oldham Division’s drive to target the town’s top players of crime and criminality. It involves police, council, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and a wide variety of other agencies working together to investigate individuals believed to be involved in organised crime.
The multi-agency initiative saw the team, carry out 13 warrants at addresses across Oldham. Officers arrested offenders for offences such as drug trafficking, immigration, money laundering, fraud, handling stolen goods and counterfeit goods. A total of £14,000 in cash was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act as well as class A and B drugs worth £3,000.
Operation Caminada investigates every aspect of a suspected criminal’s life. This includes business interests, benefits and associates. Information obtained through these means enables officers to build a picture and identify illegal activity.
Chief Superintendent Tim Forber, Oldham Divisional Commander, said: “This weeks activity can be considered a good start to the operation, but that is exactly what it is – a start. This will continue week in, week out to target those involved in organised crime in Oldham.”
As part of the crackdown police recovered stolen vehicle parts, counterfeit DVDs, designer clothing, footwear and hair straighteners. Two pit-bull dogs were seized from an address under the Dangerous Dogs Act and two baseball bats and a machete as well as four cars.
As part of the operation police and partners at licensing and trading standards visited eight licensed premises across Oldham to target licensing issues, make checks on counterfeit goods and address concerns over substance misuse. Two people were arrested and a small quantity of drugs have been recovered. Officers also made checks on door supervisors and members of the public entering the premises.
As part of the operation the team have also been tracing Oldham’s criminals living outside of the UK with a view to them being returned to the country to face justice.
Chief Superintendent Forber added: “We want Caminada to reassure our community that we will be using all of the tactics we have available to target the small minority of people who are involved in organised crime.
“The public can also help us by letting us know who they believe is living off crime. Information can be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or you can contact police on our new non-emergency number 101.”
Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: “Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer almost £1billion per year. This money is intended to help those most in need not line the pockets of criminals. We will continue to tackle this problem at the frontline but also at the root by reforming the benefits system to make it less open to abuse.”