Homes and businesses in Govanhill have been raided in a major crackdown on an “industrial scale” £4.6 million benefit fraud.
Officers have been working with the Department for Work and Pensions and Home Office Immigration Enforcement in an almost year-long investigation to trace an organised crime gang suspected of defrauding the benefits system.
A number of properties in the Govanhill area were raided, with individuals who have carried out fraudulent transactions also being targeted.
The police operation led to 16 arrests and more than 200 productions were seized which will form part of a wider enquiry.
Of those arrested, 14 were arrested on suspicion of benefit fraud, mortgage fraud and money laundering. One woman was arrested on warrant and one man was arrested in connection with a cannabis cultivation.
The cannabis cultivation discovered included several hundred plants with a potential street value of around £200,000.
Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald said: “Our action today is the culmination of an almost year-long investigation, which has been targeting organised benefit fraud on an almost industrial scale.”
She added the operation could not have been successful without the multi-agency work with our partners.
AAC MacDonald continued: “Criminals who defraud and exploit don’t care about their victims or the impact on communities. Today’s action sends a clear message that we are tackling local criminality and that we will continue to work, with partners to disrupt any future criminal activity.
“This operation was the largest of its kind by Police Scotland. Around £1.5 million worth of fraudulent claims have already been stopped and work will continue.”
Police Scotland said the support of the local community was also important in the success of the operation.
A force spokesman commented: “Communities play a huge part in the fight against crime in their local areas. Govanhill has strong community links and we work closely with these groups, we listen to what they tell us and we take action to tackle criminality in the area.”