Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 18:22 UK

Gun crime drop since Rhys murder

Rhys Jones
The 11-year-old was shot as he walked home from football practice

Gun crime has reduced by almost 25% in the Liverpool neighbourhood where Rhys Jones was shot dead, police revealed on the second anniversary of his murder.

The 11-year-old schoolboy was returning from football practice when he was shot in the car park of the Fir Tree pub in Croxteth on 22 August 2007.

Merseyside Police said in Croxteth and Norris Green there has been a 23% drop in firearms discharges since then.

Sean Mercer, 18, was jailed for life for Rhys' murder, earlier this year.

During the 11-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court it emerged Mercer, of Good Shepherd Close, Croxeth, had used a World War I Smith and Wesson gun to shoot the young Everton fan.

He then used fellow gang members to hide the weapon and burn his clothing.

'Good work'

Mercer's accomplice James Yates, 20, of Croxteth was jailed for seven years for providing the gun.

Yates was one of six members of the Croxteth Crew gang who where convicted of assisting an offender for helping Mercer evade police.

Supt Bill McWilliam said: "In relation to gun crime in Croxteth and Norris Green, between August 2007 and July 2008 and August 2008 and July 2009, there was a 23% decrease in firearms discharges.

"I am delighted with the reductions the area has seen over recent years, but there is no room for complacency as we don't want to undo the good work that has been done."

Meanwhile, anti-social behaviour in the area decreased by 30% between April 2006 and April 2009 and violent crime dropped by 34% for the same period.

Rhys' parents Stephen, 46, and Melanie, 43, were expected to mark the anniversary of their son's murder privately.

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