Police on the Sovereign Base Area in Akrotiri say they have shut down all illegal gambling outposts following countless complaints by residents in the area.
SBA police have shut down all illegal casinos that had been operating in the area over the last few years, while the large-scale operation brought about multiple arrests, fines, and seizure of large amounts of equipment and cash.
According to Cyprus News Agency, Superintendent Dinos Petrou said all nine illegal outposts that were operating since 2014 have been shut down over the course of multiple raids by SBA police, most recently in the last two months.
Ten people received prison sentences while 30 others were fined, Petrou said, adding that equipment was confiscated worth hundreds of thousands of euro along with €31,000 in cash.
'We hear loud and clear the concerns of local residents and we shall continue to police these areas so that this lawlessness does not happen again'
The operation took place following multiple complaints from local residents in the wider area and in collaboration with Cyprus Police.
“The raids over the last four years have been particularly intense,” Petrou said.
Local schools have also benefited from the operation, according to CNA, as 35 out of the 1500 confiscated computers were donated to local schools. Computer experts were said to have inspected and formatted the machines before handing them over to kids.
Illegal gambling is rampant in the Republic of Cyprus, with local authorities busting illegal outposts only to have others open up elsewhere. Reports also say that in many cases, owners of illegal gambling outposts are tipped off just before a raid takes place, giving enough time to get rid of incriminating evidence.
But Petrou said SBA police officers will remain vigilant while also thanking Cyprus Police for their close cooperation.
“We hear loud and clear the concerns of local residents and we shall continue to police these areas so that this lawlessness does not happen again,” Petrou said.