Seventeen people are in custody following a morning of warrant activity overseen by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

More than £400,000 in cash has been seized alongside 41 luxury watches, two cars and a huge amount of designer goods and artwork after 28 warrants were carried out on Wednesday 23 March 2022.

The officers were targeting individuals who are suspected to be involved in complex fraud or supplying huge quantities of cocaine.

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Pictures of some of the seized items Photos: Kent Police

Alleged financial wrongdoing includes money laundering, tax fraud and falsely claiming Covid-19 bounce back loans.

Nine men, between them, have been arrested on suspicion of a variety of drug supply offences which include conspiring to supply large quantities of cocaine. They are aged between 28 and 50.

A further seven men and one woman, have, between them, been arrested on suspicion of a variety fraud offences which include money laundering, conspiring to cheat the public revenue and concealing criminal property. They are aged between 29 and 53.

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A selection of the seized watches Photo: Kent Police

All of the arrested people remain in custody as enquiries continue.

Fourteen warrants took place in Kent, with seven in Sussex, three in London, two in Essex and two in Suffolk. Officers involved were working within Kent Police, Essex Police, Sussex Police, Suffolk Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs officers were also present at several scenes and expert investigators from the government department are working in partnership with serious crime detectives as enquiries continue.

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Seized items Photo: Kent Police

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Pritchard, the Head of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘Although we remain at the early stages of our enquiries, significant action has been taken against a group of people who we allege are involved in highly organised, cross-border criminality.

‘The activity is a by-product of our outstanding working practices with partner agencies, which for this case includes five police forces and HMRC.

‘We believe our shared resources and expertise has caused a significant hit to an organised crime group, and we’re going to continue working in unison to ensure proportionate and robust action is taken.’

ACC Andy Pritchard

By Ed

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