Suspects arrested on suspicion of human trafficking offences after Cambridgeshire Police launch dawn raids in Huntingdon and St Ives

People in a quiet Cambridgeshire cul-de-sac woke this morning to the sound of shattering glass as police carried out a series of dawn raids on suspects wanted for human trafficking.

At 7.30am detectives said they had so far made 11 arrests after the raids, which were carried out as part of Operation Lynx just after 5am.

Eight suspects have been detained on suspicion of human trafficking offences and taken to Huntington Police Station.

A further two have been held on suspicion of a number of drug related offences and taken to Parkside Police Station in Cambridge.

One suspect had a European Arrest Warrant out for him and he has also been taken to Parkside.

Detective Inspector Leigh Allman, crime manager for Huntingdonshire district oversaw the operations which were, “targeting those who gain from others’ suffering”.

He said: “Victims are promised a better life in the UK with well-paid work but often end up in over-crowded accommodation, on very low wages and with someone else controlling their affairs.”

Officers used hydraulic equipment and battering rams to break down the door of one St Ives home just after 5am.

Neighbours appeared at the windows to see a team of officers breaking down the door and entering the suburban family home.

A man was seen at the door in his underpants. He was arrested by police and taken to Huntingdon police station just after 5.30am.

The raid, carried out in Keln Leas, was one of five carried out by the force this morning.

Addresses in Sapley Park, The Whaddons, Sallowbush Road and Thongsley in Huntingdon were also targeted.

Police said suspected victims of human trafficking were found at two of the properties in Huntingdon.

They will be looked after by The Salvation Army.

Major Anne Read, The Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking Response Co-ordinator, said: “The Salvation Army operates a Government contract to provide vital help and support to adult victims of this pitiless exploitation which gives them the very best chance to try and recover through the comprehensive specialised services we can offer working with our partners.”

The operation has also involved the Border Force, Huntingdonshire District Council, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the British Red Cross.

Detective Inspector Allman added: “We are committed to working with partner agencies to tackle the exploitation and trafficking of workers in the Huntingdonshire area and targeting those who gain from others’ suffering.

“Victims are often too frightened to come forward and reluctant to seek help from authorities. However, I would urge anyone who feels they are being exploited or has any concerns about individual workers to contact police.”

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