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Working alongside other forces and partners, Merseyside Police, carried out activity during County Lines Intensification Week, as part of regional and national action to tackle the issue.
Co-ordinated by the force’s Project Medusa team, the intensification week (which ran from 17-23 May) included operations, warrants, safeguarding of and visits to vulnerable people.
We can now confirm that:
During the week of action, 41 arrests were made for offences including drugs supply and possession, and possession of weapons
During warrants and other activity, 150 cannabis plants were recovered, alongside 12kg of amphetamine and 300 wraps of heroin
Officers’ recovered two viable firearms with ammunition
A large number of vulnerable people were engaged with, with relevant referrals being submitted, through Operation Stonehaven safeguarding programmes
A total of five County Lines were closed by Operation Toxic during the week
Some of the notable activity is below:
• Working with colleagues in North Wales, officers deployed into Wrexham. Officers patrolled on foot and in both marked and unmarked cars, in and around busy travel routes, on the hunt for those involved in moving, dealing and selling drugs
• Officers from Operation Toxic executed four warrants in Merseyside, which resulted in four arrests and the recovery of Class A drugs
• Local Policing staff carried out a search of land in Toxteth and recovered a viable firearm and ammunition, which was recovered for forensic examination
• Officers arrested a 24-year-old man on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug and recovered two mobile phones
• Sefton PCSO’s, with the assistance from police dog Xolo, recovered approximately 300 wraps of heroin and £5000 cash in Hapsford Park, Bootle
• Utilising intelligence, officers from the force’s Matrix Vehicle Enforcement (MVET) team stopped vehicles identified as being linked to County Lines drug dealing, both within Merseyside and into other regions
• As a result of this activity, officers stopped 26 cars, made three arrests and seized cash and mobile phones
• Wirral Targeted Team conduct a partnership operation with Border Force, National Crime Agency and Ports Police at the sea port to Belfast. A man was arrested attempting to transport 150 cannabis plants out of the country
• Tuebrook neighbourhood team executed a warrant in the L13 area. During the search, a viable handgun, ammunition and around 12kg of amphetamine were seized. A man was arrested and charged with various offences before being remanded for court
• Child Exploitation teams across Merseyside, conducted proactive visits to a number of children and young people, considered to be a high risk of harm from child exploitation
Monday – Sunday
• Officers visited a number of addresses across Merseyside, with Local Authority partners, suspected of being used for cuckooing. A number of tenants were safeguarded as a result
• Liverpool Community team conducted a joint operation with workers from Parents Against Child Exploitation, at Sandhills and Kirkdale train station. A large number of parents and children engaged with
• In Wirral, a Safer schools project was carried out to target year seven and eight pupils. There were various speakers through the day and children worked with a rapper to develop a rap based on their learning
• A large number of school visits were conducted across the force, engaging with children of all ages, discussing issues around County Lines, exploitation and weapons.
Detective Superintendent Andy O’Connor said: "This week’s activity is just a snapshot of the work Project Medusa and officers across the force do, day in day out to tackle County Lines. As a force we are committed to working alongside partners and other forces to close down these County Lines, protect vulnerable people and remove those who exploit them from our streets.
"Through Project Medusa, we work with other forces, BTP and local authorities and agencies to target offenders and protect victims. We’ve closed more than 180 County Lines and safeguarded more than 100 people this year alone.
“We cannot stop this criminality alone, we need to continue our work with partners and we need the public’s help. It’s vital that everyone who cares for or knows young and vulnerable people understands the issue and knows the warning signs.”
Read more here about the Eyes Open campaign, introduced by Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership: https://www.eyes-open.co.uk
You can also report any concerns to police on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or our social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC.
You can also pass information via the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.