Page last updated at 21:14 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 22:14 UK

Armed teenage gang stopped on bus

An arsenal of weapons including knives, a baseball bat and screwdrivers were found when police searched a teenage gang on a bus in south-east London.

Officers became suspicious when they saw a large number of youths boarding a bus in Evelyn Street, Deptford, on Saturday night, and called for back-up.

The youths were locked inside and when searched, 16 weapons were found.

A total of 24 teenagers, aged 14 to 18, were arrested on the top deck of the number 47 bus and later bailed.

The bus was stopped in Evelyn Street, at the junction with Oxestalls Road, at about 2000 BST.

A number of passengers got off and the driver was alerted, instructed to lock the doors and wait for the police.

Claw hammer

When the officers arrived the bus was driven to Lewisham police station where the teenagers were arrested.

The youths were searched and six knives, two screwdrivers, a corkscrew, a golf club, a metal baseball bat, a mallet, two wrench handles, a claw hammer and a metal bar were found and seized.

Police arrested 24 teenagers, from the Deptford, Rotherhithe and Lewisham areas, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder. They were all later released on bail.

Ch Insp Jerry Peppin appealed for any passengers who had travelled on the bus, and saw anything suspicious, to contact them.

He said: "We are determined to rid our streets of potentially dangerous weapons."

Operation Blunt 2 was launched last week to tackle unacceptable levels of serious youth violence, particularly the carrying and use of knives on London's streets.

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