THIRTEEN raids involving more than 160 specialist police officers have been carried out across Newport this morning as part of a crackdown on serious and organised crime.

The raids, described by Gwent Police as "large scale", were carried out at 5am under what has been christened Operation Jigsaw.

Officers have arrested 11 people following 13 early morning raids in the Alway and Lliswerry areas of Newport.

More than 160 specialist officers from Gwent Police were involved in the operation targeting specific properties in Newport.

The teams included: the Serious Organised Crime Team, specialist method of entry and search trained officers, along with officers from the dogs section and Criminal Investigation Teams. Local officers were also used to help carry out this morning’s activity.

At this early stage, the warrants have already seen high performance cars seized, including an Audi A3 and Q5, along with large quantities of designer clothing and jewellery, cash and high value electrical equipment – all believed to be the proceeds of criminal activity and serious organised crime.

Police say what’s thought to be Class A drugs has also been seized and they will be sent away for forensic examination and identification.

11 people have now been arrested on suspicion of serious organised crime related offences. They are all currently in police custody and investigations are now ongoing, say Gwent Police. Work is now ongoing throughout Gwent and more updates will follow throughout the day.

Serious Organised Crime can take many forms of criminal activity and can include: Top tier drugs supply of some our most dangerous Class A drugs, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking, violence and intimidation, cyber-crime and money laundering.

Superintendent for the Newport area Ian Roberts said: “Today, over 160 of our specialist officers have worked together to carry out these warrants and I’m extremely proud of their hard work and determination to make our communities safe. 

“This activity, doesn’t just take place in isolation, it is just one aspect of a much larger fight to tackle serious and organised crime in Gwent. We have our eyes on these people and we won’t stop this fight to dismantle these groups of criminals.

“I’d like to thank our communities once again for their support which is vital for warrants like these be executed successfully. We understand that nobody knows their streets better than the residents that live there. They see what goes on day to day, they see suspicious activity, they see when something is not quite right.

“If you see something that either seems out of place or in most cases, if something just does not add up then you can contact us and know it will be dealt with seriously. What may seems like a small detail to you, to Gwent Police, it could be the final piece to a much bigger puzzle.”

The Detective Inspector for Organised Crime, Andrew Tuck, who led on the warrants today said: “This morning’s raids are a culmination of months of meticulous work across Gwent Police to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups operating within Gwent.

“Today builds on a number of arrests and seizures of drugs, cash and possessions already made from this organised criminal network and will hopefully send a clear message to others involved in the supply of drugs that we will disrupt these most serious crimes in Gwent.

“Criminals involved in serious organised crime are a daily threat to our communities, they have complete disregard for everyone, far too often that personal greed for wealth and status outweighs any morals.

“The associated serious violence, large scale drug supply and fraud, to name but a few, have enormous consequences creating pain and suffering in our communities – which far too often, people don’t see as part of the bigger picture of serious organised crime.

“Seeing the wealth generated by criminals can also be corrosive and dispiriting for our hard-working, law abiding residents. It is wholly unfair."

He added: “Serious organised crime and the perceived rewards can seem deceptively glamorous to the young and vulnerable who can be exploited and drawn into a life of criminality, including drug dealing, drug misuse and drug addiction but what they do not always see from the outset is the violence and misery that underpins this life, and the lengthy prison sentences offenders will serve.”