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Is there a return to rule of the gun?

Byline: Mike Hornby

FEARS that so-called ``gun culture'' is returning to Merseyside were on the rise last night.

It comes after two men were murdered in separate attacks in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Those deaths come less than a fortnight after Ray Craven, 27, was gunned down and another two men injured in the Thatched House Pub in Wavertree.

Police insist Merseyside remains one of the safest places in the country.

But recent figures show that armed police are sent out to incidents in Merseyside more regularly than in any other area outside London.

In the 12 months up to April last year, guns were issued in 825 operations compared with 489 the previous year.

Merseyside last saw a spate of bloody firearms incidents between April , 2000 and April , 2001.

The trend culminated in the murder of Francis Burke outside the Pulse nightclub in Liverpool's Skelhorne Street.

Police vowed to stamp out gun violence, with more armed patrols sent out on the streets.

There were eight gun murders in the 12 months up to April 2002.

And within the last few months, serious gun attacks include: L September 29 - a man received serious injuries after he was shot in the leg at a house in Smithdown Road, Wavertree.

L October 27 - a gunman wearing a balaclava fired through the front door of the Buckley pub in Sefton Road, Litherland. Two men in the pub suffered leg injuries.

L November 29 - The windows of a house in Maghull were shot out in a targeted attack. The house was peppered with bullets but nobody was there when the incident occurred.

L The same night, a 27year-old man was shot in the back in Muirhead Avenue East, Norris Green - but suffered only bruising because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

L December 2 - Man shot in the thigh after an argument in Linton Street, Walton.

L December 4 - Ray Craven gunned down by masked man in the Thatched House pub in Wavertree. Two others injured in the attack.

L Yesterday - Carl Seaton, 28, shot dead in Mastersen Street, Edge Hill.

L A 27-year-old man from Haydock shot dead in his home on Copper Lane. Two men from Leeds arrested.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2002
Words:368
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