Police smash gang using children
Rye and Battle Observer
January 24, 2008
Police have raided 17 addresses in Slough in an operation aimed at smashing an Eastern European gang that uses children to target victims in London's West End.
They suspect organised gangs, mostly from Romania, are using cheap rented properties in the Berkshire town as a base.
Senior officers said the 19 adults were arrested for offences including immigration breaches, deception, fraud and theft.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the majority of offences were taking place in Westminster, where tourists, business people and commuters were targeted.
He said the gang members were also involved in pick-pocketing and sophisticated cashpoint crime.
He said many of the raided properties are “high occupancy” with large numbers of people crammed inside. Police and council officials are also investigating the welfare of the children, and to see if any have been illegally trafficked into the UK.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police, Thames Valley Police and British Transport Police were involved in the dawn operation.
Later, police said six children under the age of 10 are now in the care of Slough Borough Council.
Superintendent Pete Davies, Slough police commander, said many of the raids took place in the Chalvey area.