KNIVES, crossbows and suspected stolen artwork were seized by police in Wirral during a major crackdown on organised crime.

Throughout the month, the #OpTarget team has carried out numerous open land searches and stop checks. They also identified those carrying dangerous weapons and arrested people intent on causing fear in communities.

On September 21, police carried out a search of a property on Cunningham Drive, Bromborough which related to theft of artwork from the Williamson Art Gallery dating back to 1970.

Inside the property, they found a large amount of cash believed to be in excess of £800,000 and suspected stolen artwork. A 68-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of possession of criminal property and theft.

A second warrant was then executed at an address on Oakridge Close where more artwork was recovered.

Other arrests included that of a man from Oxton on September 5 on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon following a stop check on Church Road, Birkenhead where he was found with a large knife. The 46-year-old claimed he had found the knife earlier in the day and remains under investigation.

The next day, a 25-year-old man from Poulton was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and affray.

According to reports he had been seen on Ashville Road late that evening, armed with a baseball bat and acting in a threatening way. He was arrested and taken to custody where he was also found in possession of suspected cocaine. He has been released on police bail until early next month.

On September 11, police conducted open land searches on Borough Road, Fearnley Road and Whetstone Lane after reports of violence and drug dealing in the surrounding area.

They found a number of items including three coshes, two knives, an axe, a bottle of prescription drugs and other evidence of drug use.

On September 18, a 48-year-old woman was issued with a knife crime warning notice after she was searched in Birkenhead Park and found in possession of a lock knife and suspected cocaine.

Later that night, a 38-year-old woman from New Ferry was arrested on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

On September 25, two men aged 33 and 38 were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class C drugs after they were stopped at Bidston Train Station.

A further search of a property in Bidston was conducted where officers located a Taser, machete, baton and lock knife

Following this, a further search was conducted at an address on Willow Lane where two air pistols, a crossbow and a Taser were located.

Wirral Targeted Inspector Danny Murphy said: "Op Target officers fundamentally deal with those involved in serious violence with the aim of taking dangerous people and weapons off our streets.

"This style of policing is not new but does use a variety of resources to proactively target criminals and those exploiting others.

"We are fuelled by community intelligence and act on the information you give to us to specifically look into hot spot areas and known criminals.

"We often utilise stop searches whilst out and about on deployments as these are key in locating those who might be wondering the streets with a knife or other dangerous weapon.

"This month's highlights shows the variety of proactive policing that we undertake and the number of weapons we seize, in order to make the Wirral a safer place for the wider community.

"No one should ever feel intimidated by another person or feel that criminal gangs are threatening their safety, nor should young people be at risk of being exploited by those involved in a criminal lifestyle.

"Taking drugs, weapons and dangerous people off our streets before someone is seriously injured or even killed is just one way our teams are working to make the Wirral a safer place.

"Weapons vary and can be concealed in a number of ways and places, meaning it is crucial that we find them before they fall into the wrong hands.

"Please save someone the heartache of finding out their friend or family member has been killed as a result of serious violence and leave the knives in the kitchen.

"Alternatively, if you know someone who carries a weapon or where they're being hidden, please tell us by DM @MerPolCC or contacting @CrimestoppersUK anonymously."