Three North East police forces have teamed up to target foreign criminals operating in the region.
Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland forces have launched Operation Kestrel in a bid to combat the harm caused by foreign national offenders.
Raids were today set to take place across the region, where officers were looking not only for criminals but also attempting to identify victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.
Led by Northumbria Police, Operation Kestrel also involves officers from the Home Office Immigration Enforcement section, the Department for Work and Pensions, and charities.
The team will carry out raids based on community intelligence and will also visit businesses known for employing illegal workers, including nail bars and car washes.
They will also clamp down on landlords who let properties to foreign nationals with no right to remain in the UK.
Northumbria Police assistant chief constable Helen McMillan said: “We will be targeting organised criminality, both foreign nationals and UK residents and those who seek to prey on the vulnerable, either those who are foreign nationals who find themselves here against their will who have been trafficked here, or who find themselves being exploited by organised crime gangs, and those British residents who are either part of that criminality or are victims themselves.”
Director of immigration enforcement Eddy Montgomery said: “We always target those who work here illegally, those who provide accommodation to those with no right to remain in the UK, and we will also look top protect those who are victims of modern slavery.”