Black Country gun crimes trigger fresh pledge over danger on streets

People have been left feeling “fear and anxiety” after a series of “unacceptable” violent incidents involving guns and knives across part of the region, a councillor has said.

A 32-year-old man was shot on Wednesbury Road, Walsall
A 32-year-old man was shot on Wednesbury Road, Walsall

Councillor Lee Jeavons, who represents Birchills Leamore in Walsall, said the spate was concerning – as he pleaded with residents to contact the police with any information.

It comes after a 32-year-old man was shot on Wednesbury Road, near the junction with Old Pleck Road, last Thursday.

Another incident took place in the grounds of Tesco’s Willenhall store on Monday involving a gang of five masked men which led to a male shopper being stabbed.

The scene at Croft Street, Walsall, after the stabbing

And a further incident took place near Croft Academy, in Birchills, on Monday where a man was attacked by a machete-wielding gang. An 18-year-old has now been charged over that incident.

Councillor Jeavons said: “There’s an anxiety and a fear, of course there is, in the community. Last year or the year before, there was a huge altercation in that street – and all I can do is appeal for people to co-operate with police.

“The police can’t be everywhere all the time, so I would just appeal to the public – if you’ve got information, come forward and co-operate with them because we can’t have this intimidation and violence going on.”

Tesco in Willenhall. Photo: Google

Meanwhile a resident, who did not want to be named, said: “Deprived areas of Caldmore and Palfrey have been neglected and left to rot. The community live in fear of speaking out due to threats of reprisal.”

They added: “In neighbouring, more affluent areas, there’s more reassuring patrols and community safety measures. MPs, local councillors and community representatives need to hold those organisations responsible accountable for (them) failing (to provide) a service. No doubt a few months down the line will see such incidents repeat – as it’s (a) regular thing.”

More than 130 guns were seized in the West Midlands last year but gun crime continues to plague the region – with three shootings in 48 hours last week.

As well as the Wednesbury Road attack, shots were fired at a memorial at Handsworth Cemetery where people had gathered to remember Keon Lincoln. And in the early hours of Saturday, a man was injured in a shooting in a residential road in West Bromwich.

Police officials have now pledged there will be no let-up in the “constant and unremitting action” required to prevent and tackle gun crime across the West Midlands.

Police at Farley Road in West Bromwich after an early-hours shooting

Speaking at the Strategic Policing and Crime Board, Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster praised the efforts of police in taking weapons of the streets.

He said: “I would like to begin by praising the efforts of West Midlands Police in keeping our streets safe. In 2021, officers recovered a total of 132 viable firearms, including sawn-off shotguns, pistols and revolvers, plus a stash of ammunition.

“This is a reminder not only of the dangerous, but vital work the police do, but also that the ongoing challenge of gun crime remains. Intelligence work, such as that carried out by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, is crucial to understanding the threat and risk.

“There will be no let-up in the constant and unremitting action that is required to prevent and tackle gun crime in 2022, so as to keep the people and communities of the West Midlands safe and secure.”

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