A CRACK team of 40 police and RSPCA officers took part in a series of dawn raids as part of a major probe into dog fighting in Accrington.
Six dangerous dogs, believed to be pitbull-types, were seized and nine people arrested during the raids on seven addresses in the town.
And during the investigation police discovered a suspected dog fight pit in an old industrial walk-in freezer.
Simultaneous raids were sprung at 7.30am yesterday (Thursday) on properties on Willows Lane, Blackburn Road, Crossland Street, Richmond Road, Steiner Street and two addresses in Monk Street, Accrington.
They involved search and entry trained officers, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, dog handlers, wildlife officers, detectives, and officers from the RSPCA Specialist Operations Unit.
RSPCA offices are believed to have acted after a tip off, followed by intelligence gathering by its specialist operations unit.
At the time of going to press, those arrested were in custody awaiting interview and the dogs had been taken to RSPCA kennels.
Police officers secured a number of premises and conducted searches of them.
Chief Inspector Mike Butcher from the RSPCA Special Operations Unit, said: "Dog fighting is an abhorrent, cruel activity that was banned in this country over 150 years ago, but still continues today.
"The RSPCA is determined to give the message that this is not acceptable.
"We are extremely pleased with the operation today and would like to thank the Lancashire Constabulary for its help and co-operation throughout."
Detective Inspector Pete Simm added: "Thursday's operation demonstrates the commitment of Lancashire Constabulary, working closely alongside the RSPCA, to take firm action against anyone believed to be housing dangerous dogs or breeding them to fight."
He added: "I would like to reassure members of the community this is not a widespread problem but an isolated and localised issue. Today's operation demonstrates that where it is a problem, we will take firm action."
Anyone concerned that a dangerous dog is being housed or trained in their community should contact the police on 0845 1253545 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or the RSPCA on 0870 5555999.