Police have swooped on some of Sunderland’s most wanted suspects in a series of raids at homes across the city.
16 people were arrested as officers carried out a two-day execrcise - codenamed Operation Gregarious - which targeted men and women wanted in connection with a series of crimes committed across the region.
The highly-visible operation, which took place yesterday and Wednesday, saw arrests made in relation to a range of offences including rape, grievous bodily harm, burglary, attempted robbery, harassment, threats to kill and witness intimidation.
Raids took place in areas across the city, including Marley Pots, Farringdon, Grindon, Washington and Houghton
Temporary Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, said days of action sent out a strong message.
He told the Echo: “Over the last 48 hours we’ve been running a really proactive operation across the area to target some of our high-profile wanted suspects.
“It’s been a really successful operation with multiple arrests made. It’s been high-profile, highly-visible and a concerted effort across the board to locate suspects wanted in relation to a range of offences.
“I want this operation to send out a really strong message to all in the communities we serve – that will take positive action to tackle criminal activity. I also want it to reassure victims that we will do all we can to bring people to justice.
“Anyone with the intention of disrupting or harming community life will be dealt with proportionately, and we will continue to work hard to ensure those living and working in this region are kept safe.”
Each day before the raids, officers were briefed at meetings held at Southwick and Millbank police stations by Temp Supt Joisce and Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, who led the operation.
Those targeted during the 48 hours were chosen based on potential threat, harm and risk to the public.
As well as raids in Sunderland, arrests were also made in South Tyneside.
Temp Supt Joisce added: “Those thought to be involved in criminal behaviour across Sunderland and South Tyneside will be pursued by our officers and can expect a knock on their door.
“While this two-day operation has now finished, our work to make communities safer has not. I make no apology for our tough stance and we will continue to look to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
“I would urge any members of the public who are concerned about crime in their area to get in touch and speak to an officer.”