Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 12:31 UK

Hundreds held over alcohol crimes

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Police raid homes across Greater Manchester, in an operation targeting alcohol-related violent crime

A total of 529 people have been arrested in Greater Manchester in a major police operation targeting alcohol-related violent crime.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said about 3,000 officers and police staff are involved in Operation Admiral.

Police arrested 447 people on Friday, on top of a further 82 who have been held over the past few days.

GMP said despite the scale of the arrests, 999 calls and day-to-day policing would not be affected.

A deactivated AK47 was recovered from a property at Ashway Clough South in Offerton, Stockport, on Friday morning.

All too frequently, alcohol is a major cause of aggression
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Byrne

Extra prisoner buses have been brought in for those who will be taken directly to court.

Officers are also visiting pubs, bars and clubs to make sure they are keeping to licensing agreements.

The raids have been co-ordinated with the CPS and courts, the force said, as some of those arrested were already wanted on warrants.

The crackdown is in response to a survey by the government revealing that one in three people in north-west England perceive drunk or rowdy behaviour as a big or fairly big problem, the force said.

GMP Deputy Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: "All too frequently, alcohol is a major cause of aggression and results in innocent people being subjected to violent and unprovoked assaults.

"But this is just the start of an ongoing process that will see Greater Manchester Police continually target those responsible for violent crime until the message sinks in."

"Response teams are not being directed away from their day-to-day duties, so the public will not experience any delays as a result of the operation," a spokesman said.



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