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200,000 cigarettes seized in Southport shop raid

Counterfeit cigarettes worth more than £40,000 have been seized following a raid by Sefton Council’s Trading Standards team and Merseyside Police.

Officers acted on information from the public which identified a residential premise in Southport Town Centre being used to store illicit tobacco for a nearby retail unit.

More than 200,000 illegal cigarettes were seized after both premises were visited by Trading Standards officers and specially trained tobacco sniffer dogs.

The seizure included counterfeit and non-duty paid products which cannot be legally sold in the UK.

 Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “This incredible discovery would not have been possible without the hard work of our Trading Standards team and partners in Merseyside Police.

 “We hope this seizure serves as a stark warning to others that we will always take action against anybody who chooses to trade in illegal tobacco.

 “Sales of illicit tobacco is completely unfair on those traders who sell UK tobacco products legitimately.

 “The availability of cheap illegal cigarettes like this needs to stop and we are determined to protect legitimate traders, consumers and the general public.

 “We actively encourage anyone who may be aware of or suspects that counterfeit cigarettes are being sold in the borough to let us know confidentially.”

 Community Policing Sergeant, Andy Dentith said: “A concerted effort between Merseyside Police and our partners at Sefton Council’s Trading Standards team has led to this fantastic result and a large quantity of illegal and potentially dangerous cigarettes will now thankfully not reach the public.

” Any breaches of licenses or criminal offences that we find will be dealt with robustly. Our message is simple: we will visit, search and prosecute any businesses which put the health and safety of the community at risk.

 “The recovery of more than 200,000 cigarettes will have significantly disrupted the activities of those involved and we ask anyone with any information about suspected illegal activity in the area to contact us.

 “We will continue to work closely with our partners to target dangerous and substandard business premises using all our available law-enforcement powers.”

Anyone who does suspect the sale of counterfeit products or any form of fraud should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Arrests made in Sefton during week of action

Police in Sefton have arrested three people during a week of high visibility activity targeting gun crime, drugs, scrambler bikes and anti-social behaviour in the area.

From Monday, the Community Policing Team have been conducting patrols assisted by representatives from Sefton Council, Environmental Health, One Vision Housing and Riverside Housing.

Three men were arrested on Tuesday June 12 for drugs possession, breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order and a breach of a gang injunction with a further two to voluntary attend on suspicion of drugs possession.

Officers were joined by Councillors Trish Hardy and Paul Cummins on patrol in the Bowersdale Park area of Seaforth.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “A strong visual police presence will be seen in the area reassuring our valued communities. 

 “We strongly appeal to anyone with information to do the right thing and please report anything they know.

“Through continued partnership work with Merseyside Police and others, we are working hard to bring those responsible to justice and ensure that our communities remain safe for all our residents.”

Officers are also available to speak to the community about their concerns at a series of mobile police station across the area, and the force’s Mounted Section will be out on patrol all week.

Areas of land have been searched following information coming in from the community, including North Park and, with the assistance of British Transport Police, the disused railway line at Akenside Street in Bootle, and the railway embankment off King Street.

Superintendent Matt Boyle said: “I want to reassure people that we will not tolerate those people who continue to make life difficult for decent people in our communities, and we are working with partner agencies on activities such as those that are taking place all week to ensure our communities are safe places to live and our parks can be enjoyed by all.

“We will continue to take action whenever the community tells us there are problems. I would appeal to anyone with information about gun crime, anti-social behaviour, and illegal or nuisance scrambler bikes in their areas to get in touch with us and I can assure them that we will take action. We will be concentrating on areas where people have told us they are suffering the effects of this behaviour.

“While we are focussing our efforts to combat crime in Sefton this week, we conduct patrols in the area all year-round and encourage anyone with any information about crime in their community to contact us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. You can also call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information. Always call 999 in the event of an emergency or if there is a crime in progress.

Police and council working together following discharges

Police officers in Sefton are working with Sefton Council following two discharges in the borough last night (Wednesday, 30 May).

The first incident took place in Church Walk, Bootle at around 7pm, when officers received reports of several loud bangs. There were no reports of anyone being injured and there was no property reported damaged.

The second incident took place in Bispham Road, Southport at around midnight, when damage was caused to the upstairs front window and downstairs window of a property. The damage was consistent with a firearms discharge. Again no-one was injured during this incident.

Merseyside Police operates in partnership with Sefton Local Authority and are committed to reassuring the communities of Bootle and Southport, with an increased police presence in both areas.

CCTV from the areas is being examined and house to house enquiries are on-going. Both scenes have been subjected to a line search and Crime Scene Investigators have examined both sites.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “As a council we are totally committed to putting our residents first and creating safe communities right across the borough.

“Unfortunately, our strong and vibrant neighbourhoods have been disturbed by a number of anti-social behaviour incidents taking place in Sefton.

“This has got to stop and we would appeal to anyone with information to do the right thing and report it. Through partnership work with Merseyside Police we are working hard to bring those responsible to justice and ensure that our communities remain safe for our residents.”

Chief Inspector Jerry Harris said: “While no-one was injured during either incident, we recognise the impact that incidents such as this have on our communities.

“I’d like to reassure residents in both Bootle and Southport that these are on-going investigations and we are doing everything we can to find those person(s) responsible for these shootings and bring them to justice.

“Guns and those who use them have no place in our communities and residents should not be forced to live in fear. Alongside our partners we are working hard to prevent these types of crime happening on our streets.

“I would also like to appeal for anyone who was in either area, around the times of the discharges, who may have seen anything to get in contact. We’re also particularly keen to speak with anyone living in these areas who may have CCTV or who may have dashcam footage, to get in contact.”

Anyone who saw or heard anything which could assist either investigation, is asked to contact @MerPolCC,101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Sefton launches no-drinking zones to combat anti-social behaviour

Sefton Council has established a number of alcohol-restricted spaces in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour and help to build safer and healthier communities.

The No Drinking Zones are designed to encourage more responsible drinking and ensure that the law-abiding majority can enjoy public spaces – safe from crime and anti-social behaviour.

This initiative demonstrates the Council’s commitment to residents and visitors so that everyone can have the peace and quiet they deserve to enjoy the places in which they live and work.

The areas will also help to improve the quality of life in local communities through the prevention of problems or nuisances.

The restricted sites are located in Southport, Formby, Crosby, Waterloo and Bootle and do not include any licensed premises.

The following roads are within the No Drinking Zones:

Southport Town Centre

The area bounded by Kings Gardens, Promenade, Seabank Road, Gordon Street, Lord Street, Union Street, Castle Street, Hill Street, Wright Street, London Street, Chapel Street, Tulketh Street, Bridge Street, Eastbank Street, Princess Street, Market Street, King Street, Duke Street, Morrison’s Car Park

Bootle Town Centre 

The area bounded by Merton Road, Washington Parade, Marsh Lane and Litherland Road

Formby

Duke Street Park, Kings Road, Phillips Lane down to the footpath (including Meadow Croft and Phillips Close), Formby Railway Station and car park, Formby Bridge, Formby Street and Andrews Lane

Crosby/Waterloo

The pedestrianised area of Liverpool Road up to The Green, the pedestrianised area of Moor Lane to the end of Telegraph House, the area of pavement on Coronation Road in front of Crown Building, Moorside Park, Victoria Park, Coronation Park, Alexandra Park, Marine Gardens, Crescent Gardens, Adelaide Gardens, Beach Lawn Gardens, St John’s Road and South Road.

The effect of this Order is that all persons are prohibited from consuming alcohol and must dispose of any vessel believed to contain alcohol, when asked to do so by a Constable or Authorised person, when it is believed that they are committing or likely to commit Anti-Social Behaviour in a public place. An Authorised Person / Constable can require any person:

• To not consume alcohol or anything the Authorised Person / Constable reasonably believes to be alcohol, in sealed or unsealed vessels.
• To surrender anything in the person’s possession which is, or the Authorised person/Constable reasonably believes to be alcohol or likely to be used as a container for alcohol.

If a person fails without reasonable excuse to comply with a requirement of a Constable or Authorised Person) A Constable or Authorised Officer may issue a fixed penalty notice. The amount payable under the fixed penalty notice is £50 if paid within 10 days, rising to £75 thereafter

Sefton Council will work closely with Merseyside Police and other partners to monitor the No Drinking Zones.

Burglary victims pen poem about ordeal as man sentenced to four years in prison

Detectives working on Operation Castle, the force’s response to burglary offences, are welcoming the sentencing of a man to four years in prison after family jewellery was stolen from the address of an elderly couple in Bootle in March.

35-year-old Anthony Ready from Worcester Road, Bootle was sentenced to four years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, Wednesday 16 May.

On Monday, 12 March, jewellery and a laptop were stolen from an address in Southport Road, Bootle after entry was forced. The occupants were not in the house but left very distressed as personal items including lockets with family photos were stolen.

Enquiries identified a man suspected to be 35-year-old Anthony Ready from Worcester Road, Bootle. A warrant was carried out at his home address on Tuesday 17 April and he was arrested.

Ready was charged with burglary dwelling and theft and was remanded in custody.

The victims, a couple in their 70s, have issued a poem which was read out at court and reads as follows:

“I’m writing as a mother,
A wife and grandma too,
These few words I want to say,
To him, who stands on trial today

“I want you to know what you’ve taken,
Can never be replaced,
They all were bought with love and care,
You stole them in your haste

“We too once had a lovely son,
Who bought some gifts for me,
I wanted to leave them to our grandchildren,
So they could always see

“The pictures of our lovely lad,
In lockets that I wear,
That meant a lot to me, his mother, his sister and his dad

“You will not take away my thoughts,
That most people that I know,
Are kind and good and decent,
But you, you are my foe

“So on this day of judgement,
I hope you’ll think again,
That you’ll never ever enter a home,
And cause a lot of pain

“I bet you’ve broke your mother’s heart,
This makes me very sad,
So please make a decision,
And change your way, young lad.”

Detective Sergeant John Fitzgerald from Operation Castle said: “We are glad to see that a callous and opportunistic offender as Anthony Ready has been removed from the streets for the foreseeable future and hope his sentence goes some way to helping his victims move on from their upsetting ordeal.

“To steal such obviously personal and sentimental items is nothing short of disgusting and we will be relentless in finding those who invade people’s homes and steal from them.

“Their poem paints a vivid picture of the upset and impact burglary has on members of our communities, and it is heartening to see that they have been able to put their feelings down in such a moving and impactive way.

“We remain committed to tackling burglary across the force so if you have any information about offences, are aware of any suspected stolen goods being offered around or stored, please come forward and we will take positive action.”

Anyone with information on burglary offences is asked to contact @MerPolCC, call 101 or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111. #OpCastle #BeattheBurglar.

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