USING number plate recognition technology, police stopped 540 vehicles across Merseyside yesterday.

The operation resulted in 20 arrests for offences including firearms, drugs, assault, possession of offensive weapons, drink/drug-driving and driving while disqualified. 14 cars and other vehicles were seized and one stolen vehicle was recovered.

One of those arrested included 24-year-old man in Birkenhead wanted in connection with a shooting in Liverpool which happened in the L13 area of the city last March.

He was held on suspicion of wounding and possession of a controlled drug after cannabis was found.

Merseyside Police's new Matrix Serious Organised Crime unit is expanding its use of technology in the coming months by setting up 50 new camera sites across Merseyside.

Funding for the cameras will be generated by police selling cars and other vehicles seized and proved to have been bought using proceeds from their crimes.

The Automatic Number Plate Recognition system works by automatically reading the registration of every vehicle that passes through it.

The registration is then checked against a range of databases, including the Police National Computer, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and local police intelligence systems.