Plot to inflict grievous bodily harm foiled in Encrochat bust

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of drugs, money laundering, GBH and gun offences in yet another case linked to the Encrochat encrypted phones hack.

Officers seized cash and suspected drugs at a property on Rydal Road, Prescot, as part of an ongoing investigation into the region's drug supply.

The arrests are part of the Merseyside Police response to Operation Venetic, a national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices widely used by organised criminals.

A 30-year-old man from Prescot was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

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Police also arrested a 42-year-old man on Houlgrave Road, Kirkdale on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and possession of a firearm.

Both men have been taken into custody and will be questioned by police.

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Upon searching the property on Rydal Road, police found suspected amphetamines and cash.

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More than 80 people have been arrested in Merseyside so far as a result of the Encrochat hack, which involved European law enforcement agencies working with the NCA and regional police forces.

The operation came about after law enforcement officials in Europe managed to crack the ‘Encrochat’ service being used by criminals involved in serious and organised crime to carry out their business.

Detective Inspector Christopher Lowe said: "The arrests today show just how seriously police and the courts take those organised criminals who supply drugs across Merseyside and beyond.

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"Any criminal who plays their part in an illicit trade that exploits vulnerable people and brings violence to the heart of our communities should not sleep easy.

"They may believe they are beyond the law, but we have officers working round-the-clock on the streets and behind the scenes to gather intelligence and evidence that will inevitably lead to them being given a rude awakening, and put before the courts.

"Working with other forces, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency, we will continue to identify opportunities to take enforcement action such as this to safeguard our communities and mitigate any risk of serious violence.

"I can reassure the communities of Merseyside that the force will continue its fight against those involved in serious organised crime to make our communities safer."