This month, Merseyside Police joined forces with British Transport Police (BTP), Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Cheshire Police to crack down on those involved in County Lines drugs supply and associated criminality.

Officers have been based in Liverpool, Southport and Kirkby as well as in Wigan and on major transport links where 228 people have been stop searched over the course of two days of police activity, resulting in a total of 13 arrests for various offences.

On 8th July, officers in Wigan stopped a man driving a black Mercedes on City Road. Checks revealed he had been disqualified from driving and after a search of his car, officers also recovered an air rifle hidden in the boot. The 34 year old man failed a roadside drink drive test and was arrested for driving offences as well as possession of a firearm.

Following this, a man, aged 27 and a woman, aged 38 were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and for being concerned in the supply of drugs. The man was stopped outside Wigan Wallgate train station where he attempted to discard a large amount of drugs. Officers managed to stop him and take him to custody. The woman later arrived at custody where she was aggressive towards officers and also arrested.

Elsewhere, at Wigan North Western railway station, another man and woman, both aged 23, were stop searched after departing a train which had come in from Aberdeen. Together, they were found in possession of around £10,000 in Scottish notes. Both were arrested for money laundering and taken to Wigan Custody Suite.

Back in Liverpool, officers were deployed to Liverpool Lime Street Station where they arrested a 20 year old man on suspicion of possession of a controlled drug and possession of a bladed article after he was stop searched.

A 19 year old man was also arrested after he was identified as being wanted on warrant for affray. He was taken to custody.

Earlier this week (13th July), officers took to the streets again basing themselves at bus and train stations across Liverpool and Wigan where they utilised tactics including plain clothed patrols and knife arches.

Officers on patrol at Wigan North West train station stop searched a man who was found in possession of a 12” machete. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of a bladed article and later charged.

Officers stationed on the rail network between Kirkby and Southport made a number of stop checks as well as those based in Lime Street Station and Queens Square bus station. One man was stopped and found in possession of Ketamine and a pair of scissors. He was arrested for possession of a controlled drug and bladed article.

Inspector Kate Wilkinson said: “Criminals often use children and vulnerable members of the community to transport and supply dugs across Merseyside and the rest of the country, a model known as County Lines drugs supply.

“Being involved in this type of crime is extremely dangerous. When someone starts moving drugs and weapons from place to place, you never know who you might come into contact with and you could end up seriously injured if not worse.

“It is paramount that people living in Merseyside or in neighbouring counties tell us if they know who is committing these crimes so we can ensure the safety of our communities.

“Recent arrests here and in Wigan show the benefit of partnering with surrounding Forces and I hope this shows the public that we will act on their information and bring offenders to justice.”