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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 18:19 GMT
Gangs caught out by online boasts
Police found people brandishing weapons including knives
Police in Cumbernauld are using footage posted on video-sharing sites to crack down on gangs.

Clips and photographs of young people brandishing weapons, such as knives and machetes, are being used as part of Operation Download.

Individuals have been identified on YouTube and Bebo pages and then charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

Ch Insp Pat Mulroonie said several arrests had been made since the launch of the scheme last month.

Ch Insp Mulroonie, from the North Lanarkshire sub-division, said the force came up with the idea after being told gang members were posting footage of themselves carrying weapons on the internet.

He said: "We were aware that some of the local youths were displaying their bravado on sites like YouTube and Bebo, and we could identify the individuals concerned."

The division obtained permission from the procurator fiscal to download the material and then asked community officers to identify the people in the films.

Ch Insp Mulroonie said: "The message is that we don't have to physically see you brandishing the weapon. If it's posted on the website, we can use it as evidence."

Operation Download is an ongoing initiative and is part of the Strathclyde Police's anti-violence strategy.

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