Met’s ‘Big Wing’ makes 93 arrests as police raid premises across London

Hundreds of police have been carrying out raids across London today in a ‘Big Wing’ operation since dawn.

By 4pm, Operation Stimtone chalked up 112 arrests for offences including money laundering, drugs, fraud, employee theft, conspiracy to defraud, burglary and theft.

Some 900 Met Police officers were involved from 6am.

By far, the biggest ‘sting’ operation was in the East End, where the Met’s Tower Hamlets division sent out more than 100 officers following a dawn briefing at Bethnal Green police station, carrying out raids which included an illicit cannabis factory and alcohol smuggling.

The cannabis factory was discovered after a tip-off at a flat on the Burdett housing estate in Limehouse.

“We found 161 plants growing in the flat,” Chief Insp Stephen Manger told the Advertiser. “They were not matured yet—so we’ve managed to foil a drugs operation being set up.

“There were cooling fans, ducting, special lighting and foil lining the flat as well as the seedlings that had just been planted.”

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A 36-year-old man was arrested at the scene and was in custody tonight being questioned by detectives.

In a separate raid, police and Tower Hamlets trading standards officers investigating under-the-counter liquor sales without duty paid seized 200 bottles of wine from an off-licence in Stepney Green.

Police went to 14 East End pawnbrokers looking for stolen property and called at 10 money service and exchange bureaux checking for any larger-than-usual transactions for cash laundering.

Automatic number plate readers were used at several petrol station forecourts checking for stolen cars or vehicles without insurance. They stopped 50 drivers using the Texaco garage in Leamouth Road in Blackwall, but none was detained.

Five arrests were made in other raids by CID officers investigating fraud and business theft. Those arrested were also being interviewed this evening.

The raids were part of the Met Commissioner’s ‘Big Wing’ days when the whole Metropolitan Force was being mobilised in one high-profile swoop to tackle specific crimes across all 32 London boroughs.

Tower Hamlets brought in 30 officers from its local neighbourhood teams to join 30 detectives from CID, 25 main beat Pcs and 18 Specials drawn from Scotland Yard’s Operational Support Unit.

They went to 50 East End businesses and 12 home addresses. Only five people were taken in for questioning out of the 12 arrest warrants that were to be served.