Police have carried out early morning raids at two nursing homes in Wales as part of an investigation into modern slavery.
Gwent Police officers, supported by the National Crime Agency (NCA), carried out warrants at Danygraig Nursing Home on Chepstow Road in Newport and Ashville Residential Care Home on School Street in Brithdir.
The warrants were carried out following allegations that staff working within these care homes are the victims of modern day slavery and related offences.
Three people have been arrested as part of the ongoing investigation.
A 53-year-old man and a 64-year-old man, both from the Newport area, and a 43-year-old man from the Surrey area have all been arrested on suspicion of modern day slavery and related offences. They remain in police custody assisting officers with their enquiries.
Gwent Police have set up a centre for potential victims with help from specialist officers from its human trafficking team working with the British Red Cross, the Salvation Army and immigration.
A spokesman said they wanted to ensure that potential victims are protected and that they receive the appropriate support.
He said Newport council and Caerphilly council, along with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Care Inspectorate Wales, are working to ensure that the care provided to residents at these homes is unaffected and these warrants do not have any detrimental effect on the nursing and care provided.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nicky Brain said: “Today’s action is part of an investigation into alleged offences against staff working at Danygraig Nursing Home and Ashville Residential Home.
“Due to the nature of the investigation, we are fully aware the warrants that have taken place today may cause concern to residents of these homes and their families.
“We would like to reassure them that this investigation is not as a result of any concerns raised regarding crimes committed against people residing in these homes. I’d like to thank the residents and their families for their continued co-operation and understanding.”
DCS Brain added: “The offences that are being investigated are serious and we would urge anyone with any information which could assist the team to contact Gwent Police on 101 quoting log 1900107421.“
A spokesperson on behalf of the two councils said: “We appreciate families may be concerned as a result of today’s events but we would like to reassure them that their loved ones are safe and their well-being is our priority.
“We have been endeavouring to speak to all relatives of residents this morning but we also have dedicated numbers specially set up for them, if they want to contact us.”
For anyone affected by this investigation, there are organisations you can speak to for help and advice;
• Relatives of residents of Dan-y-Graig Nursing Home can call – 07790 398488
• Relatives of residents of Ashville Residential Care Homes can call – 01443 864778
• Modern Day Slavery Help line – 08000 121 700
• BAWSO – 01633 213213
• Salvation Army: 24/7 confidential helpline – 0300 303 8151