POLICE uncovered a cockfighting ring and a cannabis factory after stopping a driver suspected of having lied to get car insurance.
Officers stopped the 46-year-old’s van in Grevatt’s Lane, Climping, at 11am on March 25 after checks revealed he was suspected of having withheld the fact he had a criminal conviction when he had organised his motor insurance.
When officers searched a property linked to the 46-year-old in Cinders Lane, Yapton, they found a cannabis plant and equipment for growing cannabis as well as a number of birds that were being used for cock-fighting and a cock-fighting ring.
The birds were seized by the RSPCA.
The man, from Tangmere, was questioned on suspicion of fraud, causing an animal unnecessary suffering and cultivating cannabis before being released on bail until April 30 while officers carry out further inquiries.
He was one of six people arrested in Sussex as part of Operation Trivium, a national crackdown on foreign criminals using the roads.
Police officers from Romania, Lithuania and Poland came to Britain to help with the operation, which is aimed at catching travelling criminals who use the roads to avoid detection and move around the country.
Some travelling gangs are thought to be involved in volume offences such as shoplifting, fraud, metal theft and theft from motor vehicles - for instance of catalytic converters. These criminal gangs move around the country and are not linked to individual or established communities.
Any foreign nationals who are stopped were checked against law enforcement records here and in their home countries to see if they were wanted for offences there.
Their licences were also checked as well as details such as whether they are insured and if their vehicles are roadworthy.
Sergeant Paul Wood said: “This is not about targeting people because of their nationality but taking action against those members of the Eastern European community who are breaking the law and educating them about what they need to do to stay within the law.
“We believe a wide variety of offences are being committed by foreign drivers in the county but operations like this help to catch not just offenders from overseas but also those from Sussex.”