Officers across Merseyside this morning (Thursday, 26 February 2015) as part of an ongoing operation targeting the supply of Class A and B drugs at licensed premises in the city centre.Warrants were executed at 14 addresses in Anfield, Woolton, West Derby, Kirkby, Allerton, Prescot, Huyton, Toxteth, Speke, Fazakerley, Birkdale, and the city centre, and nine men aged between 18 and 36 have been arrested on suspicion of various drugs offences, including: conspiracy to supply Class A drugs; supply of Class A drugs; being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs; offering Class A drugs, and supply of Class B drugs.Searches of the properties were carried out and a large quantity of tablets believed to be Ectasy was found at a house in Fazakerley.

The arrests follow an extensive operation over the last few months which looked at incidents of violence, and contributory factors, such as drug supply, in the night time economy.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins, said: “This is phase four of an investigation targeting the supply of Class A and B drugs at a small number of licensed premises in the city centre where violence, and contributory factors such as drugs and excess alcohol, have caused issues. In the last two weeks three clubs (Garlands, Lomax and Republik) have been closed following the illegal trade of Class A and B drugs on the premises.

“In the last decade Liverpool has enjoyed a renaissance. The city has been given a new lease of life and has seen an explosion in the number of visitors who want to enjoy the night life. Local people have worked hard over the years to change dated and thoroughly undeserved perceptions of Liverpool as a city blighted by crime.

“The majority of clubs and pubs in the city centre work closely with our licensing team and manage their venues responsibly, significantly contributing to the night time economy and maintaining the city’s reputation as a great place to visit.

“We don’t want a few irresponsible clubs to destroy the hard work that has seen a transformation in the city’s night time economy, and surely most people from Liverpool don’t want visitors to go away believing that the city’s night life is dominated by the supply of controlled drugs. This city has a fantastic, vibrant night scene, and we want that to continue. We want people to want to come back to the city again and again and enjoy what we have to offer, without the fear of violence.”

He added: “We can’t turn a blind eye to the sale of illegal drugs in our city centre, we have a duty of care to the public. The sale of drugs lines the pockets of unscrupulous drug dealers who are exploiting young, vulnerable people. These drug dealers couldn’t care less about the consquences of their illicit trade and quite often are involved in other serious and organised crime, including gun crime.”

“With a number of universities based in the city, many young people who are away from home for the first time find themselves enjoying the night life the city has to offer.

“We will continue to work with universities in the city in the coming days to warn students about the dangers that drugs and chemicals can have, particularly if mixed with alcohol, or other substances.

“We want young people to enjoy their experience of Liverpool and don’t want them to fall prey to unscrupulous drug dealers, who are only interested in lining their pockets.”

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