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Two Lancashire men charged in connection with major firearms investigation

Five people, including two from Lancashire, have been charged as part of ongoing police efforts to disrupt organised crime.

At 4pm on July 14 officers stopped a vehicle in the Queens Road area of Cheetham Hill, Manchester, and three people were arrested on suspicion of firearm offences.

Further enquiries led to four people being arrested in the Fishwick and Deepdale areas of Preston later the same day, also on suspicion of firearm offences.

Following consultation from the Crown Prosecution Service, on Friday five people were charged with conspiring to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life/enable another to do so and conspiring to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life/enable another to do so.

They are:

• Mark Watkins, 53, of Merrick Avenue, Preston.

• Richard Watkins, 27, of Merrick Avenue, Preston.

• Ryan Poole, 33, of Clough Road, Manchester.

• Lois Carter, 31, of Delaware Walk, Manchester.

• John Lewis, 35, of Ridgewood Avenue, Manchester, who has also been charged with dangerous driving.

They all appeared before Lancashire Magistrates Court on Saturday morning and were remanded into custody.

Two other people arrested in Preston on July 14 on suspicion of firearms offences have been released under investigation.

DI Fiona Jackson, of Lancashire Police, said: “Lancashire Police remain committed to tackling organised crime and we will continue to work with cross-border forces to achieve this.

“I would like to thank the communities in both Manchester and Preston for their patience and support during this investigation.

“I would like to re-iterate this was an isolated incident, however reassurance patrols will continue in the areas impacted.”