Criminals using the roads in and around Widnes to travel between Cheshire and Merseyside were caught out yesterday (Wednesday) as dozens of officers were deployed for Operation Crossbow.
The operation was aimed at disrupting criminal activity across the region and denying criminals the use of the roads.
Using the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, officers were able to monitor virtually every vehicle which crossed the border between the two counties.
Following a briefing at 11am, dozens of vehicles made their way onto the streets. Many took up strategic positions along the arterial routes while others roamed – ensuring that if there were any drivers or vehicles linked to criminal activity, they would be caught.
The operation was considered a success and resulted in:
• Over 700 ANPR hits
• Around 150 vehicles stops
• 11 vehicles seized
• 13 taxi enforcement stops
• Seven arrests - including for theft and drugs-related offences
Of particular note, three people were arrested for possession with intent to supply, while two others were taken into custody after a Ford Transit was stopped and three off-road bikes were discovered in the rear of the van. The two men, one aged 30 and 31, from Widnes and Halewood respectively have been bailed pending further enquiries.
And Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who accompanied one of Cheshire’s roads policing officers, was in the thick of the action when a white VW Polo failed to stop and a pursuit was authorised. The vehicle came to a stop in Daresbury and ACC Roberts was first on the scene to detain the driver, receiving back-up from fellow officers as a 28-year-old from Frodsham and 22-year-old from Runcorn were arrested. The 28-year-old has been bailed pending further enquiries on a number of offences, while the 22-year-old was released without charge.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Beauchamp, who was overseeing the operation, said: “These results can only show that the operation has been a success. It’s extremely important that we continue to be relentless in our pursuit of organised crime and will use a whole host of tactics to disrupt criminals working in our region.
“This was a great example of partnership working with another police force, and I’m sure this will have reassured the public that we are not just here to tackle serious and organised crime, but also those drivers who think it is acceptable to flout the laws on taxing and insuring your vehicle – which can so often leave innocent drivers out of pocket if they are involved in a collision.
“Certainly we received a positive response from the public through our social media channels, so we know these types of offences are important to the people of Cheshire.”
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson, of Merseyside Police, added: “This operation has demonstrated our determination to stamp out cross-border criminality. Working with our colleagues at Cheshire, we have sent out a message to all those who believe they can use the roads between our two counties that they will be caught, and they will be brought to justice.”