SIX people have been arrested as part of an investigation into nail bars allegedly employing illegal immigrants, money laundering and potential human trafficking offences.

Police swooped on houses in Darwen and Bolton this morning and also searched nail bars across East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Two women, 29 and 34, and a 48-year-old man - all from Darwen - and a 35-year-old woman from Bolton have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration, fraud and conspiring to produce cannabis.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Police searching Posh Nails, Higher Church Street, Blackburn

A 41-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man, both from Blackburn, have been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

Following those arrests officers searched four nail bars as part of their investigation.

They were Posh Nails, one in The Mall and one on in Higher Church Street, both Blackburn; Miss Nails, which is located in Blackburn Morrisons; and Diamond Nails in Blackburn Road, Bolton.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Police arrest a woman in Darwen

It is understood it is the first time arrests have been made into potential exploitation at nail bars in East Lancashire.

Detectives are looking at whether up to 20 Vietnamese nationals have been illegally trafficked into the UK.

The two-month investigation was launched on the back of text messages linked to human trafficking found when a man was arrested at a cannabis farm in Nelson. He was eventually jailed for being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Police arrest a man in Darwen

That led police to investigate nail bars in East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Police have also uncovered cannabis farms in Turton, Barrow in the Ribble Valley, Tottington and Walsall with up to 1,000 cannabis plants seized.

Police are still to keen speak to three other people as part of their investigation.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Police arrest a woman in Bolton

Two other people have been charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis. They are Oa Dong Ho, 24, of Sunnymere Drive, Darwen, and Thuy Nguyen, 54, of Harwood Street, Darwen. Oa Dong Ho has been remanded in custody and Nguyen has been released on bail.

Det Sgt Stu Peall, of the East Exploitation Team, said: "This is a complex investigation into issues which will clearly be of a concern to the public. Lancashire Constabulary takes all forms of criminality seriously and will always strive to protect the most vulnerable in society.

"I am pleased we have managed to locate and arrest the six individuals we have today and we are going to continue to seek out others we want to speak to as part of this investigation.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Police search Diamond Nails in Bolton

"We welcome community intelligence and would ask that if you are aware of any suspicious activity in your area that you please get in touch.”

Anyone with information or concerns should call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.