TWO SUSPECTED burglars from Blackburn were among a group of eight arrested by police on Merseyside this morning.

The arrests are the culmination of a 12-month investigation, dubbed Operation Castle, with more than 150 offences linked to the group across Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire, predominantly targeting car keys.

All eight suspects are being held in police stations across Merseyside.

Detective Inspector Steve Ball, leading this investigation, said: “This morning’s activity is a large step forward in this long-running and complex investigation, and those arrested will now be questioned.

“We’d like to thank our neighbouring forces Lancashire and Cheshire for their continued assistance, as we continue to investigate across the region.

“The suspected scale of offences and victim affected means that this could be one of the most significant burglary operations ever carried out in the north west region.”

Along with the 37-year-old man and 35-year-old woman from Blackburn, the arrested group also included:

  • An 18-year-old man from Dovecot
  • A 19-year-old man from Knotty Ash
  • A 34-year-old man from Knotty Ash
  • A 28-year-old man from Aigburth
  • A 50-year-old woman from Stoneycroft
  • A 19-year-old woman from Stockbridge Village

Lancashire Telegraph:

Officers have also used this as an opportunity to remind the public to remain vigilant and guard against potential burglars.

Detective Inspector Bell said: “Today is also a good opportunity to highlight what measures we can all take to further secure our properties against would-be burglars, especially as the shorter days draw in.

“People’s homes are left in darkness for longer, giving criminals more opportunity to break in. Taking advice given by the police can help make life as difficult as possible for them and decreases the chances of your home being targeted.

“Improving security features like locks and alarms and making sure your house always looks occupied can make a big difference.”

He added: "Often people are either forgetting to both push the handle up as well as turn the key, or they are leaving it unlocked while round at a neighbour’s or elsewhere in the house.

“Opportunists can try dozens of handles in a street and it won’t be long before they find one that opens. It is very important that people are extra-vigilant this time of year and ensure that they take home security seriously.

“Many burglaries can be prevented by taking very simple measures such as ensuring all windows and doors are locked, even when at home.”

Operation Castle has been ongoing since 2019 and as a result convicted burglars have served a total of more than 300 years in prison.

Detective Inspector Bell said: “We regularly act on information from those communities affected by burglary across Merseyside and alongside other forces, so come forward if you know anything about suspected burglary and the sale of stolen goods where you are.”