EIGHT men and women were arrested in a series of simultaneous drugs raids carried out by more than 60 police officers.

Operation Dartford saw dozens of Cleveland Police crews descend on homes in Stockton, Teesside, as part of a large-scale crackdown on the supply chain of class B drugs in the North-East.

Six raids were carried out early on Wednesday morning, with officers acting on intelligence given to them by members of the public.

Eight arrests were made in connection with the operation, with men and women taken into custody on suspicion to import cannabis, conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to burgle.

Cleveland Police detectives were pleased with the success of the operation. It falls under the banner of the larger Operation Sentinel which includes Durham and Northumbria Police forces' efforts to tackle serious organised crime.

Of those arrested, one woman in her late 20s and a 30-year-old man were taken into custody from an address in Halifax Road, Thornaby. They were questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to import class B drugs and conspiracy to supply class B drugs.

Detective Sergeant Max Leonard, of the Cleveland Police Community Drug Enforcement Team, said: “It’s been a huge success – we’ve made eight arrests which is what we expected and what we wanted today.

“Everyone who we hoped to have in custody for these offences is now in custody, so it’s been a real positive for us.”

He added: “Community intelligence is absolutely vital to any police operation – the community are very supportive of what we do. They are very vocal in relation to problems in their area and rightly so.

“It’s nice when we can have days like this and have the success we’ve had to show the public we are listening to them and will act on the information they give us and we will continue to do that.”

Detective Inspector Tony Cross confirmed that the operation was sparked by a previous investigation that involved three arrests. Those people were released under investigation on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.

He said: “As a result of those three persons we identified several other persons, through forensic analysis and other investigative tactics.”

Operation Sentinel was launched last month in a bid to join the three North-East police forces together alongside the North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit, exploiting their skills and expertise.