Crackdown continues against serious and organised crime in Ellesmere Port
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Following the conclusion of the national county lines week of action officers in Ellesmere Port have been looking back on a successful year in the continued fight against serious and organised crime.
Over the past 12 months the work of all the officers from Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit, with support from Cheshire’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, has resulted in the conviction of at least 34 people, who between them have been sentenced to almost 135 years in prison.
These included 16 men convicted as part of Operation Olympia an investigation into an organised crime gang responsible for the large-scale supply of class A drugs.
The gang, led by Mark Cavanagh, of Foxdene in Ellesmere Port, were sentenced to a total of 55 years and 11 months in prison for supplying crack cocaine and heroin with an estimated street value of £1.8m in Ellesmere Port and Chester.
Meanwhile, in April, four men who were members of the ‘Birchy Gang’ were jailed for a total of 13 years after they were convicted of supplying crack cocaine and heroin with an estimated street value of £182,000.
As well as the larger organised crime gangs, other complex investigations led by the team have resulted in the conviction of at least 14 men and women who were responsible for the supply or production of illegal drugs in the Ellesmere Port and Neston area.
These 14 individuals were sentenced to more than 50 years behind bars.
Chief Inspector Ian Stead, who is in charge of policing in Ellesmere Port, said: “I’m extremely proud of what the team here at Ellesmere Port LPU have achieved over the past 12 months and I have no doubt that their work has made a real difference in helping to improve the lives of local residents.
“This has been a real team effort, with great collaboration between the detectives leading the investigations and the officers and police community support officers out on the front line helping to gather the intelligence.
“I’m also grateful for the support provided by the officers in our Serious and Organised Crime Unit – their assistance has been vital.
“But most of all I would like to say a big thank you to the people of Ellesmere Port and Neston. It is only with your continued support, and the information that you have provided, that we have been able to achieve what we have done over the past 12 months.”
On top of all the convictions already secured, the fight against serious and organised crime is continuing.
This includes Kyle Arathoon, who was arrested after the execution of a search warrant in Ellesmere Port on 9 April. The 19-year-old has since pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply and possession with intent to supply cocaine, cannabis and ketamine and possession of a S5 firearm. He is due to be sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Monday 21 June
Under Operation Pitchfork, four men have been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs, as part of an operation led by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit. They are all due to appear at Chester Crown Court for a plea hearing on Friday 11 June.
Meanwhile, another five men are also set to appear at Chester Crown Court for a plea hearing on Friday 11 June charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. The men were all arrested as part of Operation Touchdown, which involved a series of warrants in Ellesmere Port, Liverpool and North Wales executed by the Ellesmere Port Beat Initiative Team.
Local officers have also been working hard identifying and engaging with vulnerable adults who may be targeted and educating children who may be at risk of being coerced into the criminal underworld.
CI Stead added: “We must not be complacent and we will continue to work with the public and our partner agencies who have all played a vital role in supporting us to remove these individuals who cause harm to our communities. This partnerships approach means we can gather vital information to identify and deal with these criminals.
“Our work is ongoing and that we are committed to doing all we can to continue to make Ellesmere Port a really hostile place for those involved in serious and organised crime.
“The message is clear – if you come to Ellesmere Port to commit crime, you will be caught and you will be brought to justice.”
John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “Serious and organised crime can blight our communities and I am grateful for the work that the team at Ellesmere Port have done over the past 12 months.
“I hope to see this work continue and I will be highlighting the need to tackle these types of offences in my new Police and Crime Plan in order to make our communities safer.
“I am also committed to funding crime prevention initiatives to prevent vulnerable young people and adults engaging in county lines activity.”
If you have information relating to serious and organised crime taking place in your community please contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or Cheshire Police by calling 101.
For more information about serious and organised crime please visit the Cheshire Police website.