Leeds Machete Gang Crackdown Sees 22 Arrested And Drugs And Weapons Seized
Thursday, June 10, 2021
A fearsome array of weapons has been seized by police in Leeds this week as part of investigation targeting street gangs linked to a series of machete attacks in the city.
The operation has seen 22 people arrested, mostly teenage males, and a total of 65 weapons recovered, mainly knives, machetes and swords, along with drugs with an estimated street value of £30,000 and £15,000 in cash, believed to be the proceeds of crime.
The arrest operation is the result of a 12-month investigation, led by specialist detectives from Leeds Programme Precision Team, which has mainly focused on the Burmantofts area of the city.
The group targeted has been linked to around 70 knife attacks over the last 12 months, many of which have involved young teenagers and resulted in severe injuries. This represents about 75 per cent of such incidents in the whole district.
As well as organised street-level drugs supply, the group has been linked to street robberies and other violent assaults, including a recent shooting.
Officers have used a range of tactics to monitor activity in the area and identify individuals suspected of involvement while building up detailed evidence to support prosecutions.
All those arrested have been released on bail with strict conditions while enquiries progress to charges.
Work is also being progressed to seek a civil ‘gang injunction’ to place additional restrictions on those involved as part of a longer-term approach.
Officers have also been working closely with the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds and other Leeds City Council resources, including housing, CCTV and environmental teams, to engage with young people around gang and knife crime, both in schools and through youth services, and to clear undergrowth and rubbish at spots where some weapons have been found hidden. Tenancy enforcement action is also being considered.
Leeds District Commander Chief Superintendent Damien Miller said: “This week’s arrest phase has seen the successful culmination of 12 months of painstaking work to tackle the completely unacceptable serious violence that this group has been involved in.
“The group we have targeted has been behind the vast majority of incidents that we have seen in the city over the last year, many of which have involved machetes being used to inflict very serious injuries.
“Those involved in these incidents, both as victims and perpetrators, have often been very young teenagers and we recognise the understandable concern it causes in our communities.
“Our efforts this week have also seen a frightening array of weaponry seized during arrests and found hidden around the area, as well as large amounts of controlled drugs being taken off the streets.
“We are certain this investigation will have dealt a significant blow in terms of disrupting and dismantling this criminal activity, and we will continue to build on that work as we move towards criminal charges and a civil gang injunction to address this type of offending.
“Partnership work with our colleagues in the local authority has been a key element of this operation, and we recognise the need to maintain a proactive approach to educating young people about the inherent dangers and risks of involving themselves in crime.”
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds said: “We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour in our communities and will always seek to do everything we can through a partnership approach to put a stop to it.
“We welcome therefore the positive action led by West Yorkshire Police supported by council teams against a number of individuals suspected of being involved in a range of dangerous and illegal activity.”