Fourth arrest made and loaded firearm seized in Stockport child criminal exploitation investigation
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Detectives tackling organised crime in Stockport are questioning a man arrested earlier today following a warrant executed where a loaded firearm was recovered.
The raid was carried out this morning (Thursday 2 December) in the Kingsway area as part of a recently-launched investigation into the criminal exploitation of children in the town.
Specialist officers recovered what is believed to be a firearm loaded containing six bullets in the bedroom of the address, and have taken it away for further forensic examination.
A 47-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act and possession of a firearm. He has been taken to custody where he remains for questioning.
The arrest is the fourth since investigators began five weeks ago to probe the exploitation of boys as young as 14-years-old to get involved in serious and organised criminality.
So far, three men - aged 38, 33, and 28 - have also been detained on suspicion of modern slavery offences and have since been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Officers from Stockport's Challenger team have spoken to two teenage boys as part of the investigation - both of whom have since been safeguarded with support from Stockport Council.
Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with concerns or suspicions about the criminal exploitation of young and vulnerable people are asked to contact police online or via 101, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Detective Sergeant Lee Attenborough, of GMP Stockport's Challenger team, said: "Today's find may be a concerning one for members of the local community, but it is an absolutely vital one in ensuring that this potentially lethal weapon is out of harm's way and with our specialist officers for forensic examination.
"We're conducting a fast-paced and detailed investigation into the suspected criminal exploitation of children, where we have already arrested four men and are ensuring we are working with our local partners to offer all possible support to the two boys we have safeguarded as part of this investigation.
"At this stage, we believe there aren’t any further individuals involved in this group; however, we are keen to ensure that if there are any further victims of criminal exploitation in Stockport, that they contact police in confidence knowing that we will pursue all available lines of enquiry and ensure their safety as this is our top priority."