POLICE have raided properties in Leigh and Atherton as part of an operation aimed at putting a large dent in the supply of drugs and firearms.

Officers swooped this morning on Henry Street, Selwyn Street and Carders Close, Leigh and on James Street, Flapperfold Lane and Carr Bank Crescent in Atherton.

They also executed warrants at Benjamin Road, Grange Road, Bolton Road, Downhall Green Road and Ormskirk Road, in Wigan

Raids also took place on Springpool, Winstanley and on Severn Road and Conway Road, in Ashton-in-Makerfield.

One property on Settle Street in Little Lever, Bolton and two addresses on Wildbrook Road and Carrfield Avenue in Little Hulton, Salford were also targeted.

Further raids were carried out on properties in Doncaster, South Yorkshire and Caistor in Lincolnshire.

In total eight men aged 24, 25, 28, 60, 34, 29, 31 and 50, and two women - aged 24 and 25 - have, been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs.

Seven men aged 45, 33, 36, 28, 38, 24, 23 have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs and firearms offences.

They remain in custody for questioning, say police.

The raids were led by officers from across Greater Manchester Police.

Superintendent Chris Bridge, of GMP’s Wigan District, said: “This morning’s operation has put a large dent in the aims of organised criminal gangs who seek to control illegal drugs supply – gangs whose presence de-stabilises community cohesion and attracts further criminality to the areas they operate.

“Today’s action would not have been possible without the cooperation of the local community, whom we thank for their support.

“It is in the interest of every right-thinking member of society to work alongside police to help us rid our streets of illegal drugs – removing criminal gangs’ access to illicit funds and therefore reducing the power they seek to exert.

“If police and the wider community continue to work together, we can eliminate illegal drugs from our streets and reduce the risk of vulnerable people being drawn into criminality.

“If you believe that drugs are being sold in your community, or believe a child or vulnerable adult to be at risk criminal exploitation linked to drugs gangs, then please contact police immediately.”

Call police on 101 or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.