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Criminals jailed for more than 140 years in 2021 thanks to regional organised crime unit

Organised crime group leaders and drug dealers are just some of the people who will be facing this Christmas behind bars, thanks to the work of the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
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ERSOU’s Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) is tasked with managing the threat posed by crime types such as drugs, firearms, online child sexual exploitation and cybercrime, amongst others.

Investigations by the ROCU in 2021 have resulted in criminals being jailed for a total of 141 years, while approximately 88 kilos of Class A drugs, 33 kilos of Class B drugs and 12 firearms have been removed from the streets.

This includes over more than £2 million worth of Class A drugs being recovered in Cambridgeshire .

This operation saw the successful conviction of a drug dealer from Peterborough who was involved in a national drugs supply business who was jailed for 11 and half years.

He was one of 12 men convicted following an ERSOU investigation into a gang which supplied significant of quantities of drugs up and down the country. 

Another drug dealer from Peterborough was jailed for three years and four months thanks to the ROCU.

Officers and staff use a range of specialist tactics and work closely alongside police forces and partner agencies to disrupt dangerous offenders operating across many different counties including Cambridgeshire.

Hannah Wilkinson, Head of the ROCU, said: “This year has continued to present difficulties for all of us, but we have been able to continue to navigate the ongoing challenges of the pandemic while maximising our impact on organised crime.

“Thanks to the incredible hard work and dedication of our officers and staff, some very dangerous criminals have been taken off the streets and are now facing their first Christmas of many behind bars.

“We’ve also taken substantial quantities of Class A drugs out of circulation, along with numerous firearms.

“All of this undoubtedly helps make the region a safer place – but we know there is always more to do.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work alongside our partners to protect the public from the threat of serious and organised crime in 2022.”

Alongside tackling organised crime, financial investigations in the unit’s economic crime teams have been maximising their use of Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) legislation, resulting in convicted criminals being ordered to pay back millions of pounds.

Paul Fitzsimmons, Senior Financial Investigation Manager for ERSOU, said: “Throughout 2021 our officers and staff have yet again worked tirelessly to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains which are often their main motivating factor for committing crime in the first place.

“More than £6 million has been confiscated from criminals or forfeited under civil powers as we continue to maximise our use of POCA legislation. Victims have also had more than £800,000 returned to them in compensation, while we’ve also proactively recovered more than £2 million worth of assets on outstanding orders.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our work in 2022, demonstrating to criminals ranging from low level fraudsters to organised crime group leaders, and everything in between, that they will be made to pay.”