Police have arrested nine people after machetes, firearms, cash and drugs were discovered at several properties across Stockton and Middlesbrough.

The arrests were part of an operation targeting those believed to be involved in organised crime.

This morning (Tuesday), officers swooped on seven properties in Limetrees Close in Middlesbrough, a house on Durham Road in Stockton, a property in Hemlington and a house on Bevanlee Road, South Bank.

The searches discovered:
• A quantity of cannabis and Zopiclone
• Three firearms
• A crossbow
• Two swords
• A lock knife
• Three machetes
• A Taser

Three women aged 29, 46, and 59 and six men aged 22, 24, 25, 27, 31, and 37 have been arrested on suspicion of a number of offences and are in police custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Wendy Tinkler said: “Organised crime gets to the root of communities, causing harm and destruction to people lives.

“This operation has taken meticulous planning and has involved officers and staff from teams across Cleveland Police. We have recovered items that we believe have, and would have been, used in criminality and have arrested those suspected of being involved in organised crime networks.

“We are not fearful of people involved in organised crime, we will relentlessly pursue networks and bring them down. We will always stay one step ahead of criminality, with the backing of the public and community intelligence under the banner of Operation Sentinel.”