South Yorkshire car washes, nail bars and brothels raided in police crackdown

Credit: South Yorkshire Police
Over a hundred cannabis plants and £1,400 worth of counterfeit vapes were seized as part of Operation Bubbles Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Dozens of people were arrested and thousands of pounds seized in police raids on car washes, nail bars and pop-up brothels.South Yorkshire Police arrested 48 people on suspicion of being involved in organised immigration crime and illegal working.The force seized £1,400 of counterfeit vapes, more than 100 cannabis plants, £3,000 of cash and four vehicles, all allegedly linked to modern slavery and exploitation. Four car washes were closed in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield. One employer was given a fine which could cost them £60,000. Police searched more than 40 car washes, nail bars and pop-up brothels and more than 60 houses and vehicles, including lorries as part of Operation Bubbles. Officers worked with the Immigration Service, Department for Work and Pensions, Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Organised Crime Unit and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

Det Ch Insp Anna Sedgwick said: "We know that unregulated hand car washes are often linked to wider organised crime groups and involved in the production of drugs, human trafficking, money laundering, child exploitation, as well as organised immigration crime.""Exploitation can take many forms and there is no typical victim of modern slavery. Victims can be men, women and children of all ages and from many different countries. However, it is more prevalent amongst the most vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups in society."