POLICE launched a series of raids today targeting those suspected of being involved in organised crime.
Four homes in Shotton Colliery were searched, as well as a property in Stockon, Cleveland, by officers as part of the operation.
The searches led to two men, 46 and 56, and a 55-year-old woman being arrested on suspicion of offences including conspiracy to supply cocaine, money laundering and mortgage fraud.
The Durham Constabulary campaign revisited the village on the back of raids carried out in September. Both operations formed part of Operation Sledgehammer, which is looking into organised criminal offences committed across East Durham.
The warrants were carried out by the force’s Specialist Crime Operations Unit and Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team following a series of inquiries.
A house in Brackenhill Avenue was searched along with two in The Tilery, which is a stretch of properties in Dene Crescent, and another in Milton Grove.
Detective Inspector Graham Brown, who led today’s efforts, said: “We are targeting criminal groups throughout our force area and taking on community concerns.
“Today’s operation has taken place as a result of information from the community.
“We will thoroughly investigate crime groups in our neighbourhoods and bring offenders to justice.
“This investigation demonstrates the force’s commitment to tackling high level criminals who live a lavish lifestyle through criminal enterprise.”
Those arrested were taken to police stations in the north of County Durham and were due to be questioned during the course of the day by detectives.
One man, a 46-year-old from Thornley, has already been charged with possession with intent to supply class A drugs following September’s raid and is on remand ahead of future court hearings.
The others, two men aged 46 and 55, and a 33-year-old woman, remain on bail pending further inquiries.