Published: 19:03, 13 April 2021
| Updated: 19:19, 13 April 2021
Three arrests have been made after police raided three metal businesses on the Medway City Estate in Strood.
The multi-agency operation saw officers accompanied by officers from Medway Council, HMRC, the Environment Agency, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the Home Office.
Nine warnings were also issued during the operation that targeted both stolen vehicles and the exploitation of workers.
A number of workers, and two young children, were found living in unsuitable conditions. Medway Council’s Housing Team subsequently issued nine Emergency Prohibition notices to the businesses. If the firms do not comply, they could face fines of up to £30,000.
An illegal bar was allegedly discovered, in breach of the current Covid-19 regulations. The Kent Police Licensing team is investigating.
During the operation, a 55-year-old man from Strood was arrested on suspicion of the theft of a motor vehicle and with possession with intent to supply cocaine and cannabis.
A 50-year-old man from Strood was also arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cocaine.
"This was a pre-planned operation which involved a number of key agencies and partners..."
On the same day, a 63-year-old man from Rochester was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, and possessing an offensive weapon, after police stopped his vehicle in Rainham.
All three men have since been released pending further inquiries.
Sgt Ross Haybourne said: "This was a pre-planned operation which involved a number of key agencies and partners.
"Using our combined powers and expertise, we will always seek to take the most robust action against people suspected of being involved in such offending."
A spokesman for Medway Council said: "Those involved in the exploitation of workers often undertake other organised criminal activities and we will continue to work hard to identify those involved and to put a stop to this offending."