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Seven arrested in operation to ensure safety of football fans

News   •   Feb 26, 2019 16:49 GMT

We have today (Tuesday 26 February 2019) arrested seven men and seized cocaine, cannabis and alcohol as part of a planned operation following incidents of disorder ahead of recent away football fixtures.

At around 2pm, officers attended Bowring Park Road and Electric Avenue, where they boarded two coaches due to take Everton fans to Cardiff ahead of their Premier League fixture this evening.

Matrix officers including the Dog Section and Roads Policing, assisted by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), searched the buses and as a result a quantity of suspected cocaine and cannabis was recovered, and six men arrested.

At the coach stopped on Bowring Park Road, the driver was arrested on suspicion of drug driving, two men were arrested on suspicion of possession of a cocaine, three men were arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis and a juvenile will be reported for possession of criminal property (cash) and possession of cannabis.

At the coach stopped on Electric Avenue, one man was arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis, and eight wraps of white powder and 10 bags of suspected cannabis were seized following a search of the vehicle. A total of 15 cases of alcohol were also recovered.

Both coaches were able to continue their journeys to Cardiff following the arrests and seizures.

Inspector Mark Keenan, from Matrix Operations, said: “The arrest of six people this afternoon is the result of a lot of meticulous, hard work by our investigation teams.

“We are investigating the possibility that the consumption of excess alcohol and drugs on coaches have been contributory factors in recent incidents of disorder, and today’s activity is the direct result of that work.

“It has been supported by partners including Everton Football Club and the DSA, and its primary aim is to protect people of all ages who want to go to football matches to support their team free from the fear of violence and disorder, and to ensure law-abiding citizens including families are not exposed to the taking of illicit drugs.

“The overwhelming majority of fans conduct themselves with dignity and are a credit to the city, and the vast majority of bus operators are compliant with legislation put in place to guarantee the safety of all passengers. Their good name should not be tarnished by a minority who do not uphold the same standards of behaviour.”

Insp Keenan added: “Class A drugs blight the lives of the people who become addicted to them. Some addicts can then go on to fund their habit through acquisitive crime, including burglary, theft and robbery, and this has a negative impact on the lives of people living in the communities where drug dealers and organised crime groups operate.

“Wherever suspected drug dealers attempt to ply their trade, we will root them out. They simply do not care about the impact their illicit trade has on decent members of the public – their sole concern is the money they can make, and we share the will of the community to put a stop to that.

“As well as gathering our own intelligence for today’s activity, we have acted on intelligence provided by the community and we continue to appeal to anyone with information about the illegal possession and dealing of drugs to contact police so that we can take action and continue to make Merseyside a safer place.”

Anyone with information about drug dealing is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. You can also call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.