Police seize £3.5m of cannabis in dawn raids across Bristol and South West
ADDRESSES in the Bristol area have been raided as part of a region-wide swoop by police where an estimated £3.5 million of cannabis was found.
The operation took place yesterday and resulted in eight arrests and the seizure of more than £400,000 in cash.
Avon and Somerset officers were working with South Wales Police and Gwent Police as well as staff from the UK Border Agency, Fire and Ambulance services.
A series of simultaneous early morning raids targeted ten addresses across South Wales and the West of England where seven men and one woman were arrested.
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The raids brought an end to a two and a half year operation resulting in the total seizure of 7,500 cannabis plants.
Detective Inspector Paul Latham from South Wales Police, 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."
Operation Pristina was launched in October 2010 and has led to 26 properties being searched.
Around 130 police officers were involved in yesterday morning's dawn raids and after the properties were searched, PCSOs delivered leaflets to neighbouring homes advising local householders of the police activity.
Inspector Latham added: "Eight people have been taken into custody, 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.
Police are asking people with information of drug related crime to call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.