Weapons hidden in Merseyside drains as police arrest 17 in raids

Dozens of people were searched and three properties were raided yesterday in a targeted operation by police.

The force said 17 people were arrested, and 44 were searched after "numerous deployments".

Officers were searching for "dangerous people" and were trying to "remove weapons and drugs from our streets".

In their efforts, officers located a cannabis farm as well as concealed weapons – including a heavy chain hidden in a drain.

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The coordinated deployment took place across various areas of North Liverpool, and included a dog section, community team, Targeted team and a Local Intelligence Unit.

A spokeswoman for the force said: "The day began with officers utilising a gully sucker which enabled us to find a number of weapons hidden in the drains, including a heavy chain and a number of metal rods.

"Officers then dispersed across the mapped area where they carried out uniformed patrols on foot, roadside operations and plain clothed patrols. This resulted in 44 people being stop searched, 17 of those who were either arrested for offences including breaching of a criminal behaviour order, possession of a controlled drug, drug driving and possession of an offensive weapon or given street cautions, again for drug offences."

Three drugs warrants were also carried out on Stonehill Street, Makin Street and Harbell Street.

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Stonehill Street
A cannabis farm found on Stonehill Street after police executed a warrant on August 5

On Stonehill Street, offices forced their way into a property with the help of the dogs unit.

Inside, a cannabis farm with 15 plants, a hydroponic setup, a large amount of dried cannabis and related drugs paraphernalia including scales, snap bags and phones were found.

And inside of a bedroom, officers also found a live incubator with approximately 36 cannabis saplings inside.

Cannabis seized by officers after an executed drug warrant on August 5

Officers also discovered the electricity inside was bridged – making the wiring hugely dangerous for the neighbours and the property itself.

A 27-year-old man inside of the property was arrested on suspicion with intent to supply drugs, production of Class B drugs, posession of a controlled drug and abstracting electricity.

Makin Street

A second warrant took place on Makin Street.

This warrant was carried out by officers after they were told drug dealing was reportedly taking place at the property.

Officers forced their way in, where a small amount of cannabis was seized.

A 19-year-old man was issued with a caution, the force said.

A map of where Merseyside Police carried out raids on August 5
Harbell Street

The third and final warant took place at Harbell Street, after more intelligence from the public suggested drug offences were being carried out.

Police said the address was searched, but nothing of note was found.

Police on foot
A knife seized by officers after a search on August 5

On foot, officers were deployed to Bala Street and Hahnemann Road while roadside operations were carried out around the Townsend Lane, Stanley Road and Wilburn Street areas.

During this time, a BMW was seized for having no insurance.

Police said a 34-year-old man was also given a cannabis caution after the car he was a passenger in was stopped and he was found in possession of three cannabis reefers and three bags of cannabis.

Following this, a Ford Transit Van was stopped on Islington for no insurance.

When searching the van, officers found an eight-inch-long knife in a cardboard box under the passenger seat.

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All men, aged 19, 26 and 48 were arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, police said.

On Bedford Road, a 29-year-old was also arrested after the Renault Clio he was driving was stopped.

He was subject to a roadside drugs wipe which came back positive for cocaine. He was arrested on suspicion of drug driving and taken to custody for questioning.

Teams of officers also conducted a number of open land searches along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (from Eldonian Village to Bankhall) following intelligence received from the public that suggested drugs had been hidden in the area.

The force said: "Unfortunately we didn’t find anything during the search but we are thankful for the public sharing information with us regardless."

'Yesterday's result showed success'
Merseyside Police and partners after a series of deployments on August 5

Inspector Jordan Quinn said: “Op Target deployments come as a direct result from the community telling us what they know, where criminals are operating and where dangerous weapons are being stored. With this information, we can actively deploy to specific locations and carry out the activity needed to effectively police the area.

“Yesterday’s results show the success of these deployments and we will continue to work with our partners and the public to keep everyone living in the area safe and free from criminal activity.

“If you have any information that you think would be useful in guiding future deployments, please get in touch – we must all work together to protect the more vulnerable members of society and bring those involved in gangs, drugs or other serious violence to justice.”