It has been a busy month for our #OpTarget team on the Wirral who have been conducting numerous open land searches and stop checks as well as identifying those carrying dangerous weapons and arresting those intent on causing fear in our communities.
Here’s a round-up of some of the things we’ve achieved this month…
On 5th September, a 46 year old man from Oxton was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon following a stop check on Church Road, Birkenhead where he was found with a large knife. The man, who claimed he had found the knife earlier in the day, remains under investigation.
The following day (6th September), officers arrested a 25 year old man from Poulton on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and affray.
Reports stated that the man had been seen on Ashville Road late that evening, armed with a baseball bat and acting in a threatening way. He was arrested and taken to custody where he was also found in possession of suspected cocaine.
He has since been released on police bail until early next month.
On 11th September, officers conducted open land searches on Borough Road, Fearnley Road and Whetstone Lane following reports of violence and drug dealing in the surrounding area. Here, they located a number of items including three coshes, two knives, an axe, a bottle of prescription drugs and other evidence of drug use.
The day of action continued inside the YMCA building where officers used a knife ach in the main foyer, as well as knife wands during the organised ‘weapon amnesty’ – this is where members of the public can surrender their weapons safely and anonymously and without repercussions.
On 14th September, three men, aged 17, 24 and 38 from London and Essex, were arrested on suspicion of possession of a bladed article and aggravated burglary following an incident in Prenton.
The burglary was reported to have happened on 12th September on Cotswold Road, where a number of men were seen to enter the property, armed with weapons, before making off in a Toyota Prius.
The same Toyota was later stopped in Hertfordshire a few days later and three men were arrested. A knife was also found hidden in the driver’s side of the car.
All three have since been released on police bail.
On 18th September, a 48 year old woman was issued with a knife crime warning notice after she was searched in Birkenhead Park and found in possession of a lock knife and suspected cocaine.
Later that evening, another woman, aged 38 from New Ferry was arrested on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.
Officers conducted a firearms warrant at an address on Whitfield Close where they located a gas powered air pistol after reports suggested the woman had been using TikTok to make threats to another person. The woman was arrested and taken to custody for questioning.
She has been released on police bail until early October.
On 21st September officers carried out another warrant at a property on Cunningham Drive, Bromborough relating to the theft of artwork from the Williamson Art Gallery dating back to 1970.
Inside the property, officers located a large amount of cash believed to be in excess of £800,000 and suspected stolen artwork. A 68 year old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of possession of criminal property and theft.
A second warrant was then executed at an address on Oakridge Close where more artwork was recovered.
Later that day, officers were on Oxton Road, Birkenhead, following reports of drug dealing in the area. Whilst in the communal area of a block of flats, they witnessed a hand reach through one of the letter boxes and deal a wrap of white powder to a person on the other side of the door! Officers recover the suspected drugs and then gain entry into the flat where around 150 wraps of white and brown powder are located. The man inside the flat was arrested for drug offences.
At around 10am on 25th September, two men aged 33 and 38 were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class C drugs after they were stopped at Bidston Train Station. A further search of a property in Bidston was conducted where officers located a Taser, machete, baton and lock knife
Then, just before 4pm on 25th September, officers were again on patrol on Church Road when they spotted a black Ford Focus being driven suspiciously.
The car continued along Argyle Street South where it was stopped by officers.
The driver, a 23 year old man, stated he did not have a driving licence and was therefore uninsured. He also admitted that he had cocaine hidden on his person. He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply drugs and driving offences.
The passenger, a 28 year old man, was also searched under the misuse of drugs act and found with a large amount of cash, two mobile phones and again, suspected cocaine. He was also arrested for drugs offences.
Following this, a further search was conducted at an address on Willow Lane where two air pistols, a crossbow and a Taser were located.
Then, on 28th September, three people were arrested after officers were involved in a pursuit with a motorcycle on Church Road. The rider of the bike refused to stop and made off from officers. Shortly after the pursuit however, officers attend an address on Seabank Road, Wallasey where they believe the rider has gone to. Here, they force entry into the property where they recover a large amount of cannabis bush, white powder hidden behind the bath, a number of suspected cocaine wraps hidden in the sofa and suspected MDMA tablets. A 17 year old woman, 20 year old man and 39 year old man were all arrested.
Wirral Targeted Inspector Danny Murphy said: “Op Target officers fundamentally deal with those involved in serious violence with the aim of taking dangerous people and weapons off our streets.
“This style of policing is not new but does use a variety of resources to proactively target criminals and those exploiting others. We are fuelled by community intelligence and act on the information you give to us to specifically look into hot spot areas and known criminals.
“We often utilise stop searches whilst out and about on deployments as these are key in locating those who might be wondering the streets with a knife or other dangerous weapon.
“This month’s highlights shows the variety of proactive policing that we undertake and the number of weapons we seize, in order to make the Wirral a safer place for the wider community.”
Inspector Murphy continued: “No one should ever feel intimidated by another person or feel that criminal gangs are threatening their safety, nor should young people be at risk of being exploited by those involved in a criminal lifestyle.
“Taking drugs, weapons and dangerous people off our streets before someone is seriously injured or even killed is just one way our teams are working to make the Wirral a safer place.
“Weapons vary and can be concealed in a number of ways and places, meaning it is crucial that we find them before they fall into the wrong hands.
“Please save someone the heartache of finding out their friend or family member has been killed as a result of serious violence and leave the knives in the kitchen. Alternatively, if you know someone who carries a weapon or where they’re being hidden, please tell us by DM @MerPolCC or contacting @CrimestoppersUK anonymously.” #OpTarget