POLICE have arrested 11 people as part of a regional money laundering investigation.

The arrests were made in a series of morning raids at properties in Swanage and Bournemouth today.

Houses in Manchester and Barnstable in Devon were also targeted in the operation, led by officers from organised crime unit Zephyr.

They were supported by officers from Dorset Police, Greater Manchester Police, Devon and Cornwall, Avon and Somerset and the National Crime Agency.

More than 100 officers were involved in executing search warrants at 16 premises under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

A total of nine people were arrested in Dorset, as well as two in Manchester.

All have been held on suspicion of money laundering and conspiracy to supply class B drug offences.

They are:
Three men aged 27, 33, and 35 from Swanage
Four women aged 31, 41, 43 and 55 from Swanage 
A 57-year-old man from Wareham
Two men aged 41 and 67 and a 64-year-old woman from Manchester.

Officers seized a quantity of cash, a prohibited firearm and a quantity of class B drugs.

During the operation officers also uncovered a cannabis factory.

Police are continuing their enquiries.

Purbeck Neighbourhood Inspector Fiona Gaffney said: “This was a well-planned and executed operation which has resulted in 11 arrests.

“Zephyr enquiries reveal this is believed to be linked to multiple drug seizures across the country over the last two years.

“This is Dorset Police’s ongoing commitment to tackle alleged serious and organised crime in partnership with other agencies.

“We would like to reassure the public that we will listen to any information they give to us and take it seriously.”