Merseyside Police has arrested five men after hundreds of electronic devices suspected of being stolen were found in two premises in Liverpool city centre.
Officers on patrol on Islington at around 8pm on Tuesday 5 September stopped a BMW car after it was seen accelerating aggressively and with a defective registration plate.
Following a search of the vehicle, they found more than 40 cannabis vapes and 10 smartphones.
One of the phones displayed a message indicating it had been reported stolen (see picture).
The driver was detained and the vehicles seized, along with the vapes and phones.
A search of three properties followed – two in the city centre and one in Bootle.
At the city centre locations, officers seized thousands of electronic goods including mobile phones and components, laptops, PCs and several games consoles.
A 30-year-old man from Bootle was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class B drugs (cannabis), handling stolen goods, driving without due care and attention and keeping a vehicle when the registration mark fails to conform with regulations
A 39-year-old man from Seaforth, a 24-year-old man from Liverpool city centre; a 23-year-old man from Toxteth and a 29-year-old man of no fixed address were all arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
All five men have been conditionally bailed.
Detective Inspector Katie Coote said, “The theft of mobile phones can have a huge impact on victims, who increasingly rely on phones to organise many parts of their lives.
“Shopping, banking, social media and leisure time are increasingly reliant on access to a phone and they can also store priceless photographic memories and messages from loved ones.
“We recognise that they are attractive items for thieves to steal, not least because of the personal data they contain that can be used to commit other crimes.
“Merseyside Police is undertaking proactive work to prevent theft offences, with support from the licensed trade, schools, universities and retail businesses.
“As part of Operation Ghost, our response to theft offences in the city centre, we have made arrests and issued Community Protection Notices to help us target offenders and prevent future offending.
“Our city centre policing team also visit second-hand shops in the city centre under Operation Fence, ensuring items are being sold legitimately and are not stolen.”
Image: Merseyside Police