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Police day of disruption targets serious organised crime in Knowsley

by Jonathan Kearney

During a day of action in Knowsley yesterday (Wednesday 3 May), Merseyside Police made seven arrests, seized drugs, cash and recovered a viable firearm.

The day of action was part of Operation Athena – a proactive policing operation that aims to disrupt organised crime across Knowsley and reassure communities following an injury shooting on Brookwood Road on Tuesday 2 May.

Throughout the day and evening, eight warrants were carried out as police stepped up patrols in the area, focussing on proactively targeting serious and organised crime.

Operation Athena will continue in the coming days, executing further warrants and taking a zero tolerance approach to organised crime in Knowsley.

Some of the key results from yesterday includes:

  • Operation Turtledove saw officers carry out four warrants at addresses in the Huyton and Kirkby areas and they seized nine suspected stolen/cloned vehicles and additional vehicle parts. There was also a large quantity of cannabis and a substantial amount of cash recovered from one of the addresses. A 37-year-old man from Kirkby was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and possessing a controlled Class B drug (cannabis). A 33-year-old man from Huyton and a 30-year-old woman from Kirkby were also arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. All three people have been released under investigation.
  • At around 8.30pm, officers suspected that the occupants of a vehicle being driven on Knowsley Lane were involved in drugs supply. After stopping the car on Liverpool Road, officers arrested four men – two 34-year-old men from Whiston and Kirkby; a 42-year-old man from Tuebrook; and a 39-year-old from Halewood. They were all arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and acquiring/using/possessing criminal property. All four men remain in police custody. Cash and mobile phones were also seized from the vehicle.
  • A warrant was carried out at a property on Steers Croft, in Stockbridge Village, and a firearm was seized, which will now be forensically examined.
  • Two warrants were carried out at properties in Huyton, which recovered drugs.

Superintendent for Knowsley Karl Baldwin said: “Operation Athena is ongoing and will target criminals involved in serious and organised crime in the Knowsley area.

“Through the proactive police work carried out yesterday, we managed to recover a substantial quantity of drugs and cash, as well as a viable firearm.

“The firearm discharge on Brookwood Road would have understandably caused concern for residents and our enquiries are ongoing into this incident to find the person responsible.

“We understand the fear that gun crime brings into our communities, but it is reassuring to know that the illegal use of firearms has become far less common across Knowsley. This is the first such incident since last summer in Knowsley, meaning firearm crime is at its lowest level in over 20 years.

“Despite those reductions, one discharge on our streets is one too many and we will do everything in our power to prevent and reduce firearms being used in our communities. We will be relentless in the pursuit of those who put everyone at risk when they commit firearm crime.

“We are working tirelessly to seize firearms and take these weapons out of our communities and it was pleasing to see a viable firearm was found and seized from Steers Croft, in Stockbridge Village.

“Enforcement operations like this illustrates that Merseyside Police will proactively tackle issues that matter most to residents in Knowsley and keep our streets safe. This supports the work we do every day of the year to tackle those who offend in our communities.

“Stop searches, warrants, land searches and arrests take place all year round, and in many instances it is thanks to the public who tell us where there are issues in the community.”

As well as Operation Athena, Merseyside Police and partners are running a robust Home Office-based initiative in parts of Knowsley called EVOLVE to help areas most affected by serious and organised crime.

Dedicated officers use all available powers and tactics to disrupt and deter organised crime group activity as well as breakdown their business models and recruitment chains. Partners are also working hard to build the community into an area where people would love to love, work and visit and one less able to be exploited by gangs.

Information from the public is vital to the success of the ongoing work and anyone who has information about drug dealing in the community, where weapons are being stored or who is using them can contact Merseyside Police by sending a DM to @MerPolCC, calling 101 or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.