A MONTH-long campaign to disrupt the work of organised crime gangs has started as police begin to actively target their networks.

Cleveland Police were out in force for the launch of the operation as drug dealers and violent offenders come under closer scrutiny.

Under the banner of Operation Endeavour officers will be using automatic number plate recognition to target suspected drug dealers and couriers.

The operation will be carried out right across Cleveland - with officers in all areas of Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and Hartlepool taking part.

The Northern Echo: Temporary Superintendent Marc AndersonTemporary Superintendent Marc Anderson Local Policing Superintendent Marc Anderson said: "Organised crime plagues our communities, we liaise with our communities and we do listen to what people are telling us.

"Organised crime is having a big negative impact on the community, therefore this operation over the next month will see our officers tackling organised crime groups.

"What you have seen today is an example of what will be happening over the next month where we will be identifying offenders, doing vehicle checks which will result in people having vehicles being taken off them if they are driving illegally, drugs warrants will be taking place and looking if there are any vulnerable people in these places.

"In terms of violent crimes we will be targeting those who commit assaults, robberies and aggravated burglaries over the next month."

The operation will continue over the coming weeks with officers leading high profile operations around the area.

He added: “Our utmost priority is to protect the vulnerable people living in our area and to reduce serious violence, which causes nothing but misery to people living in our communities. 
“We have executed a drugs warrant on Hampton Road in Stockton where more than 100 cannabis plants worth thousands of pounds have been seized and three people have been arrested on suspicion of drugs offences.

The Northern Echo: Police officers were out in force in North Ormesby on Friday morningPolice officers were out in force in North Ormesby on Friday morning
“Stop and searches are currently underway in an area of Middlesbrough in a bid to stop vehicles which we believe are linked to organised crime. 
“The is just a small part of what we have planned over the next month and we will be expecting to seize more drugs, execute more warrants and arrest more people."