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1,800 to face police questions after Finchley Road raid

PUBLISHED: 20:50 29 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:15 07 September 2010

AROUND 1,800 people are to be investigated as the result of police raids on safety deposit boxes in Hampstead. Armed police seized 7,000 boxes when they stormed the Hampstead Safe Depository on Finchley Road as well as addresses in Edgware and Park Lane.

AROUND 1,800 people are to be investigated as the result of police raids on safety deposit boxes in Hampstead.

Armed police seized 7,000 boxes when they stormed the Hampstead Safe Depository on Finchley Road as well as addresses in Edgware and Park Lane.

It has now been revealed around one-quarter of the boxes confiscated in Operation Rize on June 2 were being used for criminal activity, including money laundering.

Almost £50 million in various currencies has been seized as well as firearms, drugs, fake passports, images of child abuse and a huge amount of other criminal property.

Inspector Paul Peplow, from Camden police, said: "It is expected that these investigations will result in a large proportion of the cash seized being forfeited.

"Intelligence suggests that the police operation has simultaneously impacted upon criminal networks in London, nationally and globally.

"Operation Rize demonstrates the Met's determination to tackle serious and organised crime at all levels. This includes targeting those businesses that facilitate and enable the commission of crime."

Officers from the Met's Economic and Specialist Crime Command also arrested three people on suspicion of money laundering.

Insp Peplow insisted his officers were working hard to return any legitimate property, such as family heirlooms and wedding rings taken in the raids.

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