Liverpool

Escaped murderer Shaun Walmsley's associates raided

Suspect put into police van Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Five people are being held following the raids

Five arrests have been made following a series of raids on associates of an escaped convicted murderer to target serious organised crime.

Shaun Walmsley was sprung from custody by two armed men in February as he left Aintree University Hospital in a taxi.

Ten Liverpool properties were raided as well as cells at HMP Liverpool.

Three men, aged 18, 22, and 30, and a woman, 49, all from Kirkdale, are being held as well as a 26-year-old man from Vauxhall who was wanted on warrant.

The 18-year-old and 22-year-old man and woman were arrested after officers recovered a significant amount of cash from a property in Kirkdale.

A 30-year-old man was arrested at another property in Kirkdale after officers discovered what is believed to be cocaine and cannabis and a quantity of cash there.

He is being held on suspicion of possession of controlled drugs and money laundering.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Shaun Walmsley was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years for murder
Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Ten raids on properties in Liverpool have taken place as well as searches in prison cells

As well as Kirkdale and Vauxhall, warrants were also executed on individuals believed to be involved in serious organised crime with links to Walmsley in Kensington, Toxteth, Everton, Anfield, Fazakerley and Bootle.

Officers have also conducted searches at HMP Liverpool in a number of cells occupied by prisoners linked to the fugitive who are "believed to be orchestrating their criminal enterprise from their prison cells".

Supt Natalie Perischine, of Merseyside Police, said: "We are still working to establish Walmsley's whereabouts and will not stop until we have found him.

"In the meantime we will continue to disrupt those who we believe are linked to Walmsley and believed to be involved in serious organised crime on Merseyside."

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Properties in Kirkdale, Kensington, Toxteth, Everton, Anfield, Fazakerley, Bootle and Vauxhall were raided
Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Walmsley was described as "highly dangerous" and "violent"

Walmsley was one of four men serving life sentences for the "savage" murder of 33-year-old Anthony Duffy, from Kirkby, in 2014.

Described as "highly dangerous" and "violent", he was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years.

Police have offered £20,000 of Walmsley's own money - seized by officers following his conviction - as a reward for information leading to his capture.

A CCTV image of the fugitive at the hospital prior to his escape was released as he has lost weight since his police mugshot was taken, said police.

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