Police to crackdown on foreign criminal gangs in South Yorkshire

Glen Suttenwood

Glen Suttenwood

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A week-long crackdown on foreign criminal gangs travelling through South Yorkshire is to be launched.

Operation Trivium will start on Monday 16 and see officers from Romania, Lithuania, Holland and Europol joining police forces across the country in the crackdown.

Officers will help with vehicle stops, translating for suspects and checking their home country’s police systems to verify details supplied by foreign nationals.

All 43 police forces in England and Wales are taking part in the operation − the sixth of its kind − and will run checks on people and vehicles through Europol and National Crime Agency.

Home Office officials will deal with illegal immigrants, while the Gangmasters Licensing Authority will target human traffickers.

Chief Inspector Glen Suttenwood, who is leading the operation for South Yorkshire and Humberside Police, said: “We welcome our colleagues from police forces in Europe their support is invaluable in catching foreign criminals travelling in and through our area.

“Foreign nationals who commit crime in the UK, and who use the road network to facilitate that criminality, may feel untouchable by UK police − but operations like this demonstrate our commitment to cross-border policing and show that borders are no barrier to justice.

“Operation Trivium has been successful as it is notoriously difficult to tackle travelling criminals without the help from our partner agencies. They assist in piecing together a national picture on travelling criminals to prevent worker exploitation, protect vulnerable people and tackle unlicensed and criminal activity."

Last year’s operation saw 777 vehicles stopped in Yorkshire and the Humber region, of those 604 were driven by foreign drivers.

A total of 86 vehicles were seized and 43 people were arrested.

Sergeant Jez Kelly, from South Yorkshire and Humberside's roads policing unit said: “We know we have many foreign criminals who move around the country and are not linked to any individual or established communities. During the week-long operation we aim to highlight some of the effort the police and other agencies are putting into dismantling this, at times sophisticated group of criminals.

“Operation Trivium uses analysis and intelligence to identify possible migrants or illegal immigrants who are believed to be travelling the country committing crime. This is not a witch hunt on foreign nationals."