Officers from the North west crime unit Titan have used new powers to seize assets they believe are connected to serious crime.
Titan teamed up with local officers in Cheshire, Manchester, Merseyside, South Wales and the National Crime Agency to execute Misuse of Drugs Act warrants shortly before 7am.
Eleven people were arrested on suspicion of drugs and money laundering offences and detectives from Titan ordered that high-value goods - including jet skis and sports cars - suspected of having been bought using cash from criminality were immediately seized.
It is thought that the Titan-led police operation is the first to use new powers under the Policing and Crime Act 2015 which allows the police to seize the assets of suspected criminals on the day they are discovered and apply to the courts for permission to confiscate and sell them quickly. Previously, police would photograph the assets at the scene and leave them there until given permission by the courts to seize them a a later date.
Drugs and cash were also seized by detectives investigating the supply of Class A and B controlled drugs from the Merseyside area to other parts of the country.
Detective Chief Inspector John Webster, who heads up Titan’s regional asset recovery team, said the new, stream-lined powers would help law enforcement hit criminals in the pockets and strip them of their ill-gotten gains much more quickly.
He said: “This is all about justice being seen to be done. The public do not like to see people involved in serious and organised crime benefitting from that criminal lifestyle by being able to afford all the nice things that the rest of us have to work hard and work legitimately to earn.
"Why should a drug dealer have the biggest and best TV or car that money can buy if that money has come from drug-dealing and violence?
"Crime on such scales causes massive issues to wider society and innocent people’s lives across the North-west and our unit at Titan exists to put a stop to it by using all the technology, tactics and legislation at our disposal.
"The new POCA powers give us the ability to take things like TVs, computers, jewellery and high-end vehicles from suspects if we believe they have been funded by crime. We can quickly apply to the courts for a confiscation order and then sell those goods and that money will be re-invested back into crime fighting by the government.
"It means criminals not only have the prospect of significant prison sentences but they also face coming out to nothing when they are eventually freed.”