Five people have been arrested in connection with a national fraud investigation by officers from Staffordshire Police.
Properties were raided by officers early this morning (29th June) in Burton-on-Trent and Bedfordshire.
The operation was part of an investigation into an alleged fraud series between 2018 and 2020 whereby staff at petrol stations across both Staffordshire and the rest of the country were duped into handing over large quantities of tobacco, confectionary and other items.
The current known value of goods taken is believed to be around £350,000.
Cash, cannabis, phones, financial records and suspected stolen goods including confectionary were all seized by officers.
Over 70 officers and detectives from different departments including financial investigations, tactical support team, crime support team, response and neighbourhood from Staffordshire police and six other police forces including: West Midlands Police, West Mercia, Thames Valley, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire all worked together on the operation.
Following a warrant at an address on Branston Road, a 35-year-old man from Burton-on-Trent was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation, receiving stolen goods, attempting to receive stolen goods, assisting an offender and money laundering.
Two men were arrested from HMP The Mount prison, a 32-year-old and a 35-year-old, both on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering.
A 34-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man were also arrested following a raid at an address on Kingsway in Luton, Bedfordshire, on suspicion of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation, receiving stolen goods and money laundering.
They all remain in custody at this time for questioning.
Sergeant Todd Young, from Newcastle-under-Lyme Neighbourhood Policing Team, who led the operation, said: “A large number of police forces have received reports of similar incidents of fraud across the country.
“Today’s operation has been months in the planning and these seizures and arrests will help us to continue with our investigation.
“Anyone who suspects they may have been a victim or anyone with information is asked to message their local police force on 101.
“Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”