Two people have been arrested as a result of a joint operation involving two US agencies and a number of British police forces. The quiet market town of Oswestry, in Shropshire in the UK, was surprised to find its main street cordoned off by armed police officers on afternoon of the 6th September.
The armed police operation was the culmination of cooperation between US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the UK’s West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU WM).
HSI Special Agents in Newark, New Jersey, examined a parcel, sent via air mail, destined for the UK and found that it contained a hidden firearm and ammunition inside it. Sadly, the police have not yet disclosed the type of firearm.
UK police then agreed to allow the package to be delivered and organise a raid to arrest the recipients. An address in Oswestry was surrounded by armed officers from West Mercia police and a 21-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were arrested. They are thought to have been responsible for attempting to smuggle the hidden weapon into the UK.
In a statement Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nally, from West Mercia Police, said:
We take firearms offences extremely serious and tackling serious and organised crime remains a priority for West Mercia Police.
Working closely with our partners is key to ensuring our communities are made safer and more secure, and we hope that people feel reassured and empowered to report any concerns around firearms with confidence that action is being taken.
We will do everything we can to raise awareness of the dangers of firearms and keep them off our streets.
The local newspaper, the Shropshire Star, reported that ten armed officers along with police dogs entered a block of flats in Oswestry town centre. The town’s Mayor, Sandy Best, said:
It is good to see there was a police presence and the matter was resolved. It is not a situation we want to see and I hope we don’t see things like other places where there has been rises in firearms and knife crime. I am just pleased it was resolved quickly.