FOUR people have been arrested after police raids following a complex investigation.

Three men and one woman have been arrested over keyless car thefts across Cheshire and Liverpool.

Two of the suspects have been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and drugs offences.

Cheshire Police executed warrants at four addresses in Widnes, Runcorn, and Halewood, on Tuesday, with support from Merseyside Police.

The strike is the culmination of a lengthy and complex investigation, Operation Jungles, launched in October 2023 by Widnes Proactive Policing Team and follows reports of more than 40 car thefts since October 19, last year.

Four people arrested are currently in police custody helping officers with their enquiries.

Extensive searches of their addresses have been conducted as part of the ongoing investigation.

As a result, six stolen cars have been recovered as well as stolen car parts.

Detective Sergeant Tim Brookes, who led the investigation, said: “Today’s warrants were carried out as part of Cheshire Constabulary’s ongoing mission to bring those involved in organised crime to justice.

“The arrests follow a lengthy and complex investigation, focusing on a large number of car thefts across the north of Cheshire and Merseyside - believed to be over 40 separate offences.

“Widnes Proactive Team have been gathering evidence and intelligence behind the scenes and the extensive work has now led to four arrests, an abundance of evidence being recovered, and a number of stolen vehicles being located.

“I hope that this operation and today’s strike phase reassures communities that we are committed to doing all we can to tackle this type of criminality and bring those responsible to justice.”

Sergeant Kai Baker from Merseyside Police said: “Four people have now been arrested in Liverpool on suspicion of conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.

“Two of these were also arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and drugs offences following a series of warrants carried out by Cheshire Constabulary and Merseyside Police this morning.

“These arrests and complex investigations are just some examples of the work our officers carry out with other forces to target those involved in organised crime and bring them to justice.

“Our officers will continue to target criminals, execute warrants and carry out the necessary arrests to prevent such crimes that can destroy our businesses and communities, so if you have any information about car thefts or similar crimes in your area please contact us.”

Inspector Tom Hall, of Widnes Local Policing Unit, said: “This series of crime has had a huge impact on victims and the community of Widnes as a whole.

“Car ownership is often critical for most families and the loss of those vehicles causes significant distress.

“I am very proud of the investigation carried out by the Widnes Officers during Operation Jungles and today’s results shows we will tackle head on those thieves’ causing misery in our communities.

“If you want to steal from the hard-working people of Widnes, expect Cheshire Police at your door.”

Anyone with concerns about crime in their area can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or call Cheshire Police on 101.

Always contact 999 if a crime is in progress.