DETECTIVES are ‘piecing together’ a series of gangland crimes which involved a gun being shot and multiple arson attacks over the space of several hours.
Police confirmed this week that the incidents - which took place from about 6pm last Thursday in Bolton-upon-Dearne and Thurnscoe - are being treated serious and urged the public to come forward with any information due to the severity of the offences.
Officers were called to Hanover Street, Thurnscoe, at about 6.20pm following reports of a firearms discharge and a car blaze.
Upon attendance, officers found damage to the property’s windows consistent with a firearm being used and a vehicle outside the address alight.
Then, a few hours later, they received another report of a deliberate car fire on South Drive, Bolton-upon-Dearne, and another arson several minutes later at a gym on High Street.
Investigating officers believe the events were linked and have obtained forensic and ballistic evidence.
Superintendent Emma Wheatcroft said: “While no-one was injured during the incidents we cannot ignore the risk that these occurrences pose to innocent members of the public.
“We are working around the clock to identify those involved and are asking for the community’s help.
“We will not tolerate the risk that violent criminals with guns pose to our communities.
“We need to know who is involved in gun crime and where they are storing guns.
“We need our communities to talk to us and to share information, no matter how small you believe it to be.
“Greater intelligence enables us to execute warrants, arrest more suspects, and ultimately put those responsible behind bars.
“If you have information about those involved in last Thursday night’s incidents I urge you to speak to us.
“We know not everyone is comfortable speaking to us - you can remain anonymous by speaking to independent charity Crimestoppers on www.crimestoppers.org.uk or 0800 555 111.”
According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, the overall level of crime across the town has increased - but officers in Barnsley have pinpointed a rise in gun crime as a priority for the coming months.
A report revealed 334 incidents had been recorded in 2022 - up from the previous year’s 242.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “Whilst increases of any kind make for unsettling reading, I note that this matches the national picture across England and Wales, indicating this isn’t an unusual upward trend in this area of the country.
“The area where I have most concern is firearms offences - up by 38 per cent.
“This is higher than the 22 per cent increase in the Yorkshire and Humberside region and much higher than the figure for England at 13 per cent.
“This is concerning and illustrates the importance of the work that our police armed crime team is doing.”