Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Police arrest 461 in 'Christmas crackdown' raids

Officer leads arrested suspect
Anyone arrested and taken to custody will be given a GMP Christmas card

Hundreds of people have been arrested across Greater Manchester in raids targeting robbery, burglary, violence and theft suspects.

In total, 461 were detained and taken into custody for questioning.

Two blank-firing handguns, three cannabis farms and stolen duty free goods worth £60,000 were also recovered during the raids.

A third of the entire Greater Manchester Police force was used in the operation.

Police said some of those arrested were suspected of breaking the terms of their licence agreement after being released from jail.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said: "We now want to capitalise on the success of other recent days of action.

This is not just any Christmas dinner - this is a GMP custody suite Christmas dinner
Message on a GMP Christmas card to potential criminals

"In the run-up to Christmas, criminals often feel desperate and will stop at nothing to steal and rob to feed their habits or for plain greed.

"Today we are sending out a powerful message to criminals that we know who they are and we are coming to get them."

As part of the operation, anyone arrested and taken into custody will be given a GMP Christmas card, inspired by a well-known Marks and Spencer advert.

The card reads: "This is not just any Christmas dinner - this is a GMP custody suite Christmas dinner."

It warns potential criminals that instead of turkey with all the trimmings, they will face a sloppy microwave meal served in a plastic tray.

GMP have also worked with the courts to ensure suspects are put through the judicial system as quickly as possible.

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