The Police have arrested ten suspected members of a criminal gang following a raid in Essex and Kent, London, on Wednesday morning.
The gang is conspiring to possess a firearm, the Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
Over 350 Met officers executed 11 firearms warrant in Essex and Kent in the early hours of Wednesday, 3 March.
It is a part of a joint operation to arrest many suspects involved in ‘renting’ a firearm to be used in revenge gang attacks.
The operation was also supported by firearms recovery dogs.
Detective Superintendent Paul Trevers, who led the operation, said the process took months of hardwork and dedication to curb violent incidents in East London.
The operation executed by East Area Gang Unit, tagged “Operation Wordwell,” started in September 2020 “following a number of shootings and stabbings in Barking, East London.”
“By linking the offences, officers realised that one criminal gang were planning violent attacks on other individuals, and by making these pre-planned arrests today, we have been able to thwart a criminal gang involved in the use of lethal firearms,” he said.
Detective Trevers said a total of 10 people, aged between 16 and 20 years old, have been arrested for offences including conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit GBH with intent.
The suspects are currently in police custody at an East London Police Station while the Police continue searching for firearms in other venues.
The operation was carried out by the Metropolitan Police and Essex and Kent Police, supported by Met’s Taskforce, Specialist Crime syndicates and East Area BCU.
Members of the local Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) were also present at a specialist operations room to view the warrants taking place and see what officers are doing to tackle violent crime in their neighbourhoods.
Det Supt Trevers adds: “Communities rightfully hold their local Police to account. They understandably want to know, understand and see what we are doing to tackle shootings, stabbings and other types of crime in the areas that they live and work. By inviting community representatives to see the operation unfold, it allowed me to show our professional commitment to suppress violence whilst assuring communities of our accountability and transparency in what we do.
“This is another in the line of ongoing operations targeting violent offenders, and I hope it goes some way in reassuring everyone that East Area BCU, with the support of MPS specialist officers as well as colleagues from other forces, continues to work tirelessly to stop the supply of guns, and associated criminality across London and into county forces.”
Operational Policing Command, Chief Inspector Darren Deex in Essex said
“In working with the Metropolitan Police today, not only have we supported colleagues to make an arrest, we have helped make Essex that little bit safer.
“Our residents know that we will always take action to remove firearms and weapons off our streets and bring those who carry or use them to justice, and we take pride in knowing the community supports us in that aim. There is no place for such violence in our county.”
The warrants were carried out at properties at Middleton Grove, Barking, Sutton Road, Barking, Upney Lane, Barking, Wheelers Cross, Barking, Wivenhoe Road, Barking, King Edwards Road, Barking, Dovehouse Mead, Barking, The Shaftsbury, Barking Bastable Avenue, Barking, William Groom Ave, Dovercourt, Harwich, Essex, Rhodaus Town, Canterbury, and Kent.
The Police are urging anyone with information to call on 101 or Tweet @MetCC, or, for anonymous tips, to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Plus, any young people who have information about violence, firearms or knife crime, can visit Fearless where they can pass on information anonymously – your I.P address will not be traced. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the Police.