Arrests made and weapons seized in forcewide operation
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Sussex Police carried out a forcewide day of action on Saturday (27 February) to tackle knife crime, violence and wider criminality as part of Operation Safety.
Around 80 officers from Response, Investigations, Neighbourhood Policing, the Tactical Enforcement Unit, the Special Enforcement Unit, the Dog Unit, new recruits from the Dedicated Coaching Unit and other teams took part in the operation.
A total of 15 arrests were made for offences including weapon possession, weapon importation, robbery, burglary and drug offences. 26 weapons were seized and 39 searches were carried out.
A warrant was executed at an address in South Road, Haywards Heath after information was received about the attempted importation of knives from UK Border Force. Weapons including lock knives, a knuckle duster and flick knives were seized from the property as well as a small amount of cannabis. A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of importing an offensive weapon and possession of an offensive weapon. A 43-year-old was was arrested for possession of a Class B drug. Both have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Shortly before 12.30pm, officers on patrol saw a pedestrian approach two people in a BMW near Broadwater High Street in Worthing and a suspected exchange of items took place. The vehicle was subsequently stopped in Offington Drive and a search was carried out. A large amount of white powder in wraps was seized and the occupants - a 27-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, both from Worthing - were arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply. They have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Officers arrested an outstanding suspect wanted for a burglary at a property in Stanmer Villas, Brighton, on 10 February where a bike, some cash, and other items were stolen. A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and has been bailed while enquires continue.
At 1.14pm officers stopped a 33-year-old woman behaving suspiciously in South Street, Worthing. A small amount of suspected Class A drugs were seized during a search and she was arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug. The suspect was cautioned.
Around 2pm, officers on patrol seized a knife during a stop and search of a 36-year-old man seen behaving suspiciously in St James's Street in Brighton. The suspect was uncooperative with the search and a meat cleaver was found in his waistband. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of a bladed article and obstructing an officer and has been released on police bail.
At 2.30pm, plain clothes officers stopped two youths behaving suspiciously in Eastbourne town centre. When officers stopped the pair, both became aggressive and reportedly assaulted officers. Wraps of a substance suspected to be cocaine were seized. The two males - aged 17 - were arrested and charged with assaulting an emergency worker and being concerned in the supply of cocaine. They are due to appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Monday (1 March).
At 5pm, officers stopped a vehicle in Marine Parade, Worthing at 5pm and administered a roadside test for drugs, which the driver - a 33-year-old man - failed. He was arrested on suspicion of drug driving.
A short time later, officers stopped a second vehicle on Marine Parade and the driver - a 50-year-old woman - failed a breath test for alcohol. She was arrested on suspicion of drink driving.
Officers carried out an arrest of a suspect wanted for the robbery of in Preston Park, Brighton at 7pm on 20 February, where a 15-year-old boy was assaulted after being asked to empty his pockets. The suspect - a 16-year-old boy - was arrested on suspicion of robbery and has been bailed pending further enquiries. The suspect and victim are understood to be known to each other.
Officers also carried out arrests for further outstanding suspects for matters including attempted robbery, harassment and assault.
PS Elizabeth Reschwamm, co-ordinator for Operation Safety, said: "Dangerous items such as weapons and drugs have no place on our streets and we work tirelessly to remove them and keep local communities safe.
"Carrying weapons is extremely dangerous and although some people may carry them to feel safer - it actually puts you at more risk of coming to harm.
"Yesterday's operation was a great success. Colleagues from across the Force, including new recruits, worked together to tackle the issues such as weapon possession, violence and wider criminal issues.
"We will continue to tackle and prevent crime through targeted action and by raising awareness.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne showed her support for this activity saying: "Sussex Police remain steadfast in their commitment to taking prolific offenders off our streets, preventing knife crime and tackling serious violence.
"This targeted activity has already had some successful, tangible results and the presence in those higher-harm areas is exactly the visible and proactive policing that I know residents want to see.
"A strong message was sent out - the police will respond swiftly and robustly to prevent serious violence and anyone thinking about carrying a knife should beware of the dangers and life-changing consequences of doing so.
"Please remember that all knives can kill and maim and, just by carrying one, you are putting yourself and others in grave danger. My message is clear – lose the knife not a life."
If you have information or concerns about crime in your area, make the right call and report online or by calling 101.