A Skorpion machine pistol seized as part of an ongoing operation has been linked to two shootings on Merseyside.
The weapon was seized in March this year and led to an offender being sentenced to five and a half years for possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a firearm without a certificate and possession of controlled class B drugs (cannabis) with intent to supply. Merseyside Police has now confirmed that following forensic examinations the firearm has been linked to two shootings in late April and early May 2022.
The first occurred on April 26 when a woman in her 50s was shot in the leg inside an address on Deverell Grove, Wavertree. A man reportedly burst into the house and as he left fired shots. The gunman then escaped on a motorbike with two other men.
The second shooting involving the firearm occurred on May 2 when shots were fired at a house on The Beechwalk, Stoneycroft. Two bullet holes were seen in the front window of the house on the road known as "sleepy hollow".
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Ball said: "As part of an ongoing investigation into the use of this firearm, we are now in a position to confirm that we believe the weapon is linked to two shootings in Merseyside. One of these incidents involved a woman who was shot in the leg in an appalling act of violence in Wavertree.
"The other was when a house was shot at in Stoneycroft. This was extremely reckless and could have caused serious or fatal injuries. Investigations into both of these incidents remain ongoing and if you have any information, please get in touch."
The Skorpion machine pistol is a Czech-made weapon capable of firing 800 rounds a minute. DCI Ball said: "There is no place for them on our streets."
Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy told the ECHO last week the force is working in collaboration with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) to tackle the Skorpion threat. She said the NCA are focussing on identifying how the weapons have made their way onto the mainland, while her officers try and root them out in Merseyside.
DCI Ball added: "These weapons are highly dangerous and can fire up to 800 rounds a minute, there is no place for them on our streets. Last year, we saw the loss of three lives – Ashley Dale, Sam Rimmer and Elle Edwards – who were all killed through the use of a Skorpion firearm.
"With the case of Sam, the investigation is ongoing and we are still appealing for anyone with information to come forward so we can catch his killer. The murders last year show why we are committed to a relentless approach to tackling serious organised crime.
"This year we have seen a significant reduction in the number of firearms discharges across the county compared to 2022. Last year, there were 49 firearm discharges in Merseyside and so far in 2023 there have only been 14, which is a 64% decrease.
"Information from the public is vital if we are to continue to breakdown the organised crime groups who bring misery to our streets and I would appeal to anyone who has information to come forward. I completely understand that speaking up could be daunting, but when people are willing to support the police we will ensure every possible avenue is progressed to protect them.
"If you don’t feel comfortable coming directly to the police you can call the independent, anonymous, Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111, we need to know who is involved in gun crime and where those guns are being stored."
A series of coordinated raids were carried out last week as part of the same operation targeting suspected serious organised crime and firearms. Eleven people have been charged in relation to the investigation.
To pass on information to the police about firearms or drug dealing in your community, you can DM @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook or call 101.