Police target organised crime groups in Wirral crackdown

Criminals are being targeted as part of a crackdown on serious and organised crime in Wirral, as part of Operation Presley.

Launched 12 months ago, the operation has carried out high visibility patrols to gather information and used criminal behaviour orders, gang injunction applications, land searches and stop and search powers to protect the public from organised crime groups.

Since its launch, 136 stop searches have been carried out, 64 arrests have been made, 12 knifes and one firearm has been recovered. A substantial amount of class A and B drugs have been seized and over £10,000 cash has been seized under the proceeds of crime act.

Officers leading the operation have recently secured gang injunctions against two prominent adult gang members. Merseyside Police will continue to use all types of intervention, including the valuable tool of gang injunctions, to address serious criminality in the area.

Yesterday (Thursday 15 December), Merseyside Police carried out a proactive policing operation on the Woodchurch estate as part of their continued disruption in the area.

Teams of local officers, alongside the Matrix disruption unit, took part in an enhanced day of action as part of Operation Presley – a police operation that has been put in place to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups in the Woodchurch area.

The disruption activity follows a number of recent incidents in Wirral, linked to serious and organised crime, anti-social behaviour and county lines.

On Saturday 3 December, a 21-year-old man was shot in the leg in Orrets Meadow Road. An investigation is underway and house-to-house, CCTV and forensic enquiries have been carried out in the local area. It is believed the attack was targeted and a number of positive lines of enquiry are being pursued.

Throughout the day and evening, officers used a range of tactics including stop search powers, high-visibility patrols, and roadside stop sites to proactively target criminals. Specialist officers from the roads policing team, including the motorbike team denied criminals use of the roads and tackled vehicle nuisance and antisocial behaviour.  

The day saw three people arrested, 11 stop searches carried out and class A and B drugs seized.

During the day, officers carried out the following activities targeting individuals:

  • Officers intervened when they saw a man and woman engaging in a drug deal on Newhey Road. A 38-year-old man from Birkenhead was arrested for supply of a class A drug (cocaine), possession with intent to supply a class B drug (cannabis) and possession of criminal property. A search of his home address recovered bars of cannabis resin, a large quantity of cannabis bush, £1,000 cash and 66 cannabis vape pens. Other paraphernalia relating to drug supply was also recovered. He has been released under investigation. The 39-year-old woman was arrested on possession of a controlled drug and was dealt with by the way of a community resolution.
  • A vehicle was stop checked and officers noticed empty alcohol cans in the footwell. The 47-year-old man from Wrexham provided a negative breath test but was positive for both cannabis and cocaine on a roadside drugs swipe. He was arrested on suspicion of drug-driving and has been released under investigation.
  • A Nissan Prima Star Panel van was seized due to having no insurance.

Other disruption activity has been ongoing. On Tuesday 13 December, officers carried out a warrant as part of an investigation into a drugs county line being operated in the New Ferry and Woodchurch area of Wirral between June and December 2022.

James Byrne, aged 21, of New Ferry was arrested and has now been charged with being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin.

On Wednesday 14 December, one woman and two men aged 24, 31 and 25 from Woodchurch were arrested on suspicion of drug offences. At around 10.30pm officers searched an address on Carr Bridge Road and discovered a large amount of cannabis in the bedroom of the property, with heat lamps, tents, scales and burner phones. They were taken to a police station in Merseyside and have since been released under investigation.

Community Police Inspector Alan McKeon said, “The enhanced day of action builds on the disruption work we are doing continuously to disrupt and target criminals involved in serious and organised crime, which generally stems from drug-related crime, on the Woodchurch estate.

“Organised crime groups have no regard for the harm they cause in our communities. We will continue to target anyone involved in serious and organised crime and stop them in their tracks.”

Local Community Inspector Alan McKeon added, “We cannot stop this criminality alone; we need the public’s help. We would urge anyone with information to come forward and tell us what they know, either directly or anonymously, so we can continue this momentum and take swift action against those involved in organised crime.”

Anyone who has information about drug dealing in the community, where weapons are being stored or who is using them can contact Merseyside Police by sending a DM to @MerPolCC, calling 101 or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Images: Merseyside Police

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