£25m seized as police battle to loosen gangsters’ grip on region

CASH and drugs totalling nearly £25m have been seized from some of the region’s most serious organised crime gangs over the past two years, figures obtained by the Yorkshire Post have revealed.

Since early 2010, £13,632,546 has been recovered in money as well as Class A and B drugs worth £10,689,890 from the crime groups, many of which have significant involvement in human trafficking, firearms and money laundering as well as links to organisations across the world.

The figures follow groundbreaking research which has revealed for the first time the extent to which hundreds of sophisticated organised gangs have spread their tentacles across the region, co-ordinating crime in Yorkshire’s towns and rural areas and grooming youngsters for recruitment.

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New police mapping techniques launched over the past six months have revealed there are now 244 known organised crime groups in the region.

While the majority of the gangs are based in cities across South and West Yorkshire, research undertaken in Bradford by a specialist team of officers has revealed the groups are fuelling crime in some of Yorkshire’s most rural areas.

It is believed they are co-ordinating drug dealing, thefts of antiques from stately homes and stealing luxury cars to order.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Whyman, head of collaboration for Policing Yorkshire and the Humber, whose Odyssey teams have secured the seizures, has hailed the “impressive” figures which include major multi-million pound drug busts, and said as more of the crime gangs are squeezed, the pressure is now growing on some of the biggest operators in the region.

“Businesses survive on cash flow and it is exactly the same with criminal enterprises,” he said. “It is a hugely effective means of disrupting what they are doing if we take the cash out. Some of the officers have been surprised at the amount of money they have come across, saying they have seen more in a week than anywhere else before.”

Police gangbusters ‘winning fight’ in region: Page 5.