MORE THAN 200 police officers unleashed dawn raids at homes across Oxfordshire in the hunt for money laundering criminals and tax avoiders.

The officers searched cars, sheds, and homes at Woodhill Lane, East Challow, and Faringdon Road, Stanford in the Vale.  

They found expensive jewellery, large quantities of cash, and a suspected stolen JCB.

Five people were arrested:

  • A 54-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man, a 33-year-old man, a 27-year-old woman, and a 22-year-old woman, all from the Wantage area, on suspicion of modern slavery, money laundering, and tax evasion.

The 53-year-old man is still in police custody.

The other four have been released under investigation.

Witney Gazette:

Officers carrying out warrants 

Thames Valley Police led the operation and supported by HMRC, Department for Work and Pensions, Environment Agency and Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN).

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Detective Inspector Stuart Brangwin, based at Abingdon police station said: “Officers have carried out these warrants as part of an ongoing investigation into money laundering and tax offences.

“This is as part of our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime within the Thames Valley. Following this activity today a number of arrests have been made.

“Our investigation has been carried out alongside our partner agencies, and I would like to thank everyone involved for their work as we continue to work together to keep people safe from harm.”

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Superintendent Lis Knight, Local Policing Area commander for South Oxfordshire & Vale of White Horse, said: “Serious, organised and Acquisitive crime will not be tolerated in the Thames Valley, especially in our more rural communities which can often feel more exposed.

“We will continue to work with our partners to disrupt those who commit these offences.

“We take these offences very seriously and these arrests demonstrate that.

“I would urge anyone who is aware of criminal activity in their community to report it to us. This information is vital as it helps us build up intelligence and take action.”

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 Phil Davies, a senior operations manager with the Environment Agency, said: “We are determined to disrupt any illegal waste activity that blights communities.

“Part of the Joint Unit for Waste Crime, the Environment Agency works with police and other bodies in the fight against serious and organised waste crime.

“The handling and dumping of illegal waste is estimated to cost the UK economy at least £600 million a year. We stopped illegal waste activity at nearly 1,000 sites in 2019. Suspicions about waste crime should be reported to us on 0800 807060, or to Crimestoppers.” 

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A Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) spokesperson, said: “By working in partnership, sharing intelligence lawfully and efficiently, the GAIN aims to ensure that government agencies along with police will help reduce the risk, threat and harm from serious and organised crime, in the most cost effective way.

“Today's action in Oxfordshire follows months of collaborative hard work by GAIN who are dedicated to dismantling crime networks which benefit from inflicting misery on communities.”