Teenage machete gang members arrested as knives, swords and drugs seized by police
Police in Leeds have arrested a gang of teenage boys who were involved in machete attacks across the city.
A total of 22 people, mostly teenage boys, were arrested this week as part of a 12-month investigation, led by the Leeds Programme Precision Team
Police have seized 65 weapons during the operation, which mainly focused on the Burmantofts area.
This included mainly knives, machetes and swords.
Drugs with an estimated estimated street value of £30,000 were also seized, as well as £15,000 in cash.
The gang targeted has been linked to around 70 knife attacks in the past year.
Many of these attacks have involved young teenagers and resulted in severe injuries.
These attacks represent 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.
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.
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.”