Suspected illegal immigrants, fine dodgers and drug dealers were held today as more than 130 police and other officials raided homes around Wolverhampton.
The day-long blitz, which saw officers break down doors, yielded at least 12 arrests while others were facing deportation after being found to be in the country illegally.
Among those arrested was a man who failed to pay a £600 court fine because he “could not afford it” but had £500 in his pocket. The cash was seized by officers when the 23 year old was arrested in Horden Grove, Whitmore Reans.
Today’s operation across Wolverhampton, carried out by officers from a number of agencies and organisations targeting criminal suspects, was one of the biggest operations of its kind in the city.
This afternoon police burst through the doors of a ground floor flat in Provence Close, Heath Town and held two men following complaints from residents about possible drug dealing.
Elsewhere, further arrests were made on suspects failing to pay court fines totalling £11,343.
Our Crime Correspondent Shaun Jepson is joining the operation. Follow his live updates here:
Chief Inspector Darren Walsh, who is part of today’s operation, explained: “We’ve done two sessions of survey work recently to ask the public about their concerns and the number one issue was speeding motorists, number two was youths hanging around and number three was burglary.
“What we have done today is demonstrate to the public that if they tell us about their concerns we will deal with them.
“We know that 70 per cent of people across the city believe we are doing a good job, but 20 per cent are not sure.
“Hopefully days like today will go some way to convincing those who are unsure that we are doing a good job.
“This has been about ensuring that no matter who tells us about the problems they are having, they can see a tangible difference as a result of what they have told us.”
As part of today’s action police arrested men in Hawksford Crescent, Low Hill, in Oxley Avenue, Oxley and in Dunstall Road, Whitmore Reans and a woman in Ruskin Road, The Scotlands.
All these arrests were over the non-payment of fines that had been given to them by the courts.
A 38-year-old man was also arrested in Wellington Road, Bilston, on suspicion of carrying out an assault at the end of January.
Elsewhere a 23-year-old man was arrested in Byrne Road, Blakenhall, by immigration officials after it emerged that he was in the country illegally. Police said that he was detained and will be deported.
Officers were also patrolling the city’s public transport network, using metal detectors to search people suspected of carrying weapons. Pc Joe Trusselle, who co-ordinated today’s action, said the first raid was launched at 7.30am, while officers were briefed at Low Hill Police base on Fifth Avenue from 6am. They were split into 15 different arrest teams and sent out across the city.
Police vehicles were also situated throughout the city to snare motorists driving without insurance or valid tax.
Video: Police raid a property in Provence Close, Heath Town, this afternoon