Dawn raids target organised waste crime
Eight arrests have been made in County Durham as part of a concerted effort to smash an organised crime ring focusing on dodging waste regulations.
Seven of the men were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit environmental offences while the eighth was arrested on suspicion of arson.
The joint operation between Durham police and Environment Agency officers mainly related to fly tipping and illegal car scrapping.
Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton said: "This is the start of a concerted and relentless campaign to rid Co Durham of an organised crime group whose seemingly respectable business front is a sham and operates outside the law.
"Their activities ignore legal restraints and regulations and undermine legitimate businesses in the region.
"The people who control and run it reap the benefits of a lifestyle to which they are not entitled.
"Our message today is simple: it will not be tolerated and every effort will be made to arrest, convict and punish those involved.
"We, and all right-thinking people, don't want these individuals in Co Durham and working together with our partner agencies are determined to shut them down for good."
"Local people know what is going on and have waited for this day."
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