Officers have seized weapons, drugs and stolen goods in a day of action in Birkenhead today (Friday 11 September) in response to reports of drug dealing and violence centred around YMCA Wirral.
Police have received reports of a recent increase in drug dealing at the premises on Whetstone Lane, and a rise in incidents of violence and weapons seizures which officers believe is associated.
High visibility patrols have been in the area this morning, with the Dog Patrol searching the building and a knife arch outside. Officers carrying knife wands have also been deployed to check for any weapons.
Officers have recovered a number of weapons including knives and a BB gun, drugs and £180 worth of stolen make-up, and an open area search on nearby Borough Road located a screwdriver, an improvised baton and stolen prescription drugs.
Community Sergeant Alan McKeon said: “We believe drug dealers are preying on vulnerable people at the centre, and using violence and threats – including the use of weapons – to force users to pay drugs debts.
“There is no doubt that the dealing and use of drugs has brought an increase in violence, and together police and partners have resolved to put a stop to that, to protect vulnerable people and improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.
“This activity is not about criminalising the vulnerable people who seek sanctuary at the YMCA.
“It is about targeting those callous individuals – including organised crime groups – who see people in challenging circumstances as commodities to be ruthlessly exploited.
“These people have no qualms about using fear, intimidation and violence to profit from other human beings, and their actions will never be tolerated by Merseyside Police.”
Sgt McKeon added: “We have worked with partners in the town including the YMCA to engage in high visibility deployments at the centre, and continue to work with Wirral Ways To Recovery and health care workers who conduct regular drug education talks and welfare checks, and will follow up on today’s police action to ensure any victims are put on a path to a brighter future.
“We will continue to take action whenever the community tells us there are problems. I would appeal to anyone with information about drug dealing and anti-social behaviour to get in touch with us and I can assure them that we will take action.”
Anyone with information about criminality in their area can contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. You can also call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.