A COVERT operation saw seven members of a Burton family arrested on suspicion of laundering £51 million of criminal cash.
More than 50 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers joined forces with Staffordshire Police to raid two homes and one business premises in Burton Road, Branston, just after 7am yesterday.
Three men and four women were arrested and are being questioned by detectives.
Computers, personal and business records were removed during the searches and HMRC officials revealed that detailed forensic investigations were continuing.
An eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said: “We awoke to see police cars and white vans parked in the street.
“The raid happened at around 7am and the officers were there for hours.
“The roads were all clogged up as a result and it caused traffic chaos.
“However, due to the amount of people involved, we felt it must have been something serious.”
Colin Booker, assistant director for criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “Money laundering and associated tax evasion is a serious offence and is usually the result of major organised crime gangs trying to clean up their dirty cash.
“We have worked closely with Staffordshire Police in this operation and will continue to pursue those who operate outside the law and attempt to evade tax.
“Members of the same family were arrested during dawn raids on suspicion of laundering approximately £51 million of criminal cash.”
Another member of the same family was arrested during a similar raid in Tadworth, Surrey.
One house in Tadworth and one business address in Croydon were searched in the area on the back of intelligence gathering.
Mr Booker added: “The arrests took place in Burton and Tadworth, Surrey, as five premises were searched for evidence by 50 HMRC officers, assisted by police officers.”
Anyone with information about people who may be involved in tax fraud is being urged to call HMRC on 08005 95000.