Gangsters hailing from the Liverpool area are behind most of the north-east’s organised crime, the region’s top police officer said yesterday.
Chief Superintendent Campbell Thomson said that over the past 20 years serious, crime groups operating in the city and wider north-east had been “predominantly” from England’s north-west.
He added that, unlike other areas of Scotland, there was not the same problem with native “crime families” as he presented Police Scotland’s annual report for Aberdeen to councillors.
The chief superintendent told the city council’s public protection committee they had been forced out by aggressive crimelords from south of the border.
They are thought to have taken advantage of Aberdeen’s excellent transport links to bring illicit material in by road, rail, sea and plane.
Criminals from the Liverpool area have been linked to a spate of incidents in recent months, including attacks on ATM machines.
Despite the revelations, Ch Supt Thomson, who is divisional commander for the north-east, said a flood of new recruits would soon be hitting the streets and stressed that many serious crimes across the city were at record lows.
In recent years there has been a spike in drug deaths and possession figures, which have been linked to the presence of “professional” criminals.
Between April 2017 and March this year there were 66 drug deaths in the city and 240 drug supply offences.
The figures for the previous year were 53 and 179 respectively.
Ch Supt Thomson told the committee £250,000 worth of drugs had been recovered from the city just this week.
A report presented to the committee read: “The influence of organised crime groups are reflected not simply through the supply of drugs within the communities, but through linked criminality.
“One such example relates to the attempted theft of an ATM from within the city and the theft of a vehicle by criminals from an English based organised crime group.
“The geographic location of Aberdeen within the north east and its key location within the heart of the local and national transport infrastructure has led to well-rehearsed operational activities in the area of the joint bus and rail station, the airport and the arterial trunk roads approaching and passing through the city.
“This multi-divisional activity frequently deploys on an intelligence led response, successfully removing controlled drugs and money from their networks and disrupting their criminal activities, bringing respite to our communities. “
Committee convener Jennifer Stewart urged residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to police.
She added: “I felt reassured listening to evidence today that the police are doing everything in their power to eradicate this kind of crime.
“Unfortunately we will never have a crimeless society. Utopia doesn’t exist, but the police are really responding to the concerns of residents in the city.”