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Detective Inspector determined to rid Skelmersdale of gangs

Several arrests made relating to drugs and assaults under Operation Nemesis

Some of the cannabis plants that were found last week in Skelmersdale

A top policeman has vowed to rid Skelmersdale of its gang culture – but said it won’t happen overnight.

Detective Inspector Warren Atkinson is heavily involved in Operation Nemesis which aims to disrupt and punish criminal activity in Skelmersdale and the surrounding areas.

The operation has been running for several weeks and during that time almost 80 arrests have been made by officers.

This week alone there have been several arrests relating to drugs, assault and gang violence.

On July 22 at a house on Beechtrees police raided a house and found cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis worth £10,000.

Two men were arrested and have been bailed pending further investigation by the force.

On July 24 another address in Beechtrees was raided with officers finding 600g of cannabis. One man was arrested in relation to this offence and has also been bailed pending further enquiries.

Officers were also called to a fight involving 10 men at 7am on Saturday morning at Castle Hey Shops.

Police arrived at the scene to find one man with a head injury and arrested four people who were involved.

There are expected to be further arrests in relation to this incident which officers believe to be a dispute between two warring Skelmersdale factions .

Detective Inspector Warren Atkinson said: “Lots of the violence in the town comes about because of gangs fighting over territory.

“We’re committed to breaking these groups up and disrupting their activity as much as we can.

“There’s been problems in recent weeks with gangs coming over from the Merseyside area and we’re doing everything in our power to stop them entering Skelmersdale when they have no reason to be in our town through various criminal and civil orders.

“We know it’s not going to be a quick fix but we’re doing everything we can, we are in it for the long haul and know it will take time, but our results so far are really encouraging.

“We’re really committed to targeting individuals who engage in drug related crime. Being able to remove the drugs this week, which would have ended up on the streets of Skelmersdale, is a huge boost.

“The public have been brilliant so far in providing information and intelligence which have really been helping our efforts to fight this type of crime.

“Our Facebook and other social media sites have been gaining a lot of interest and we’d love this to continue.

“I think there was a general feeling of fear in the community and people didn’t really know what incidents had happened around them, but we are keen to keep people informed of all developments and want people to keep talking to us as well.

“If you have any information about crime in the area, please contact us on 101 or you can call anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 - together we can make a difference.”

Police are also working with West Lancashire Borough Council on serving eviction notices to tenants as a further measure to improve Skelmersdale. The council have already evicted one resident for growing cannabis in their property area based on police information.