Police have revealed they have disrupted gang activity in Thornton Heath making eight arrests after seizing an imitation gun, drugs and a hammer.
The weapons and drugs were taken off the streets as a result of a proactive operation by the Territorial Support Group (TSG) to suppress gang violence in Croydon, according to a Met police statement.
Officers from the TSG established a taskforce to target the area in and around Thornton Heath Rec, also known as Melfort Park following recent violence and a growing concern of gang activity from the local community.
On Wednesday afternoon (August 5), while patrolling the area the unit stopped a group of males near the Winterbourne Road entrance to the park. They immediately ran with officers pursuing and detaining eight males.
A set of keys were discarded and a quick search enabled the officer to locate a vehicle, which had been reported stolen.
Inside the vehicle was an imitation firearm, a hammer, and a quantity of cannabis. The vehicle has been linked to robberies within the locality in recent weeks.
Sergeant Jon Sweatman from the TSG, said: “This is a welcomed seizure and we will now subject the weapon to forensic examination.”
All eight men, aged between 20 and 40, were arrested for possession of a firearm, theft of a motor vehicle and robbery. They have subsequently been released under investigation.
The arrests come following an escalation in anti social behaviour and violence in the Thornton Heath wards during lockdown.
In the last months residents have complained about all night parties in the Rec which are unlicensed and draw people from outside the area to listen to DJs who have set up sound system in the park which is surrounded by residential properties.
This patrol was launched after close collaboration with Croydon Council. Further patrols are planned in order to suppress violence, robberies and gang activity in the community.
Sergeant Sweatman added: “This is a great example of how TSG units are supporting our frontline colleagues in tackling the scourge of violence across London. Every day, officers are deploying on intelligence led operations to seize potentially deadly weapons and help dismantle the toxic gangs throughout communities.
“Of course, we rely on help from the public in achieving this. If you have any information on violent crime, report it. You can all police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers. You will always remain anonymous, they will never ask for your name.”