Operation Scorpion: North Wales Police target organised crime

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Media captionOfficers said Operation Scorpion would bring a number of elements together within the force.

Gangsters behind serious and organised crime in north Wales are being targeted by police in a new crackdown.

Operation Scorpion aims to focus on a wide range of major crimes, including drugs and human trafficking.

North Wales Police said it hopes the new action will encourage more people to come forward with information.

Det Ch Supt Wayne Jones, head of the force's crime services, said officers will "pursue organised criminal groups operating here relentlessly".

He said North Wales Police already has a well-established response to tackle such crimes.

The latest operation will target:

  • Cross-border crime
  • Armed robbery
  • Criminal use of firearms
  • Kidnapping or human trafficking
  • Drug production, importation and supply.

Mr Jones called on the public to help saying people involved in organised crime "seldom do so quietly" and often "live well beyond their obvious means, drive expensive cars, live in large houses and are often out of the country".

Last year, BBC Wales revealed that £46m in criminals' cash and assets had been recovered in the last decade by police and other agencies in Wales.

Luxury home

The use of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is used to claw back cash from offenders.

In 2012, a crown court judge made north Wales criminal John Gizzi the subject of a serious crimes prevention order to restrict his activities on his release from prison.

The order will come into effect when Gizzi, who once drove a Bentley sports car and had a luxury home at Rhyl, is released from jail and limits the amount of cash he can possess to £500.

Regarding Operation Scorpion, Mr Jones said: "One of the operation's aims is to keep the people of north Wales aware of the progress being made to tackle organised crime where they live, work and visit.

"It is intended to be a two-way communication process and part of the launch is focused on encouraging the public to provide North Wales Police with information and to share their concerns about individuals or criminal groups."

North Wales Police said anyone who suspects organised criminal activity is asked to call 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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