Eight arrested following cannabis raids on both sides of the Severn Bridge
A TOTAL of eight people have been arrested at the close of a police crackdown on cannabis farming and dealing, which has seen £3.5 million of illegal drugs seized on both sides of the Severn.
The suspects, seven men and one woman, were apprehended yesterday, Tuesday, February 26 in a series of simultaneous early morning raids at ten addresses across South Wales and the west of England.
A large amount of cash and drugs were also confiscated as part of the joint operation between the Avon and Somerset, Gwent and South Wales police forces.
Officers were assisted by the UK Border Agency and fire and ambulance services.
Yesterday's action brings to an end operation Pristina, during the course of which police seize 7,500 cannabis plants worth an estimated £3.5million and more than £400,000 in cash.
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."
A total of 26 properties were searched during the operation, which launched in October 2010, including ten in Cardiff, Newport, Bath and Bristol.
Around 130 police officers were involved in yesterday morning's dawn raids including one on the Eastgate Business Park in Cardiff where a large cannabis factory was discovered. It has since been dismantled.
DI 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.
"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.