SIXTEEN people have been arrested in early morning raids launched by police trying to take guns off the streets of Merseyside.

The warrants linked to large-scale drugs supply and the use of firearms, including a Skorpion machine gun, were carried out at eight properties at 7am on Thursday.

At a property in Kensington, Liverpool, a woman shouted “who is it” from an upstairs window as police cut through the front door and knocked it down before entering the house.

One woman was arrested at the semi-detached house, where other adults, a child and dogs were also inside.

Skorpion weapons were used in three murders in Merseyside last year, including the shooting of 26-year-old beautician Elle Edwards, who was hit when gunman Connor Chapman opened fire outside the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village, Wirral, on Christmas Eve.

The firearms, which are Czech-designed, are capable of firing 800 rounds a minute.

The warrants on Thursday were linked to a Skorpion which was recovered in March, but was not linked to any of the killings, police said.

St Helens Star: A Skorpion that was seized in MarchA Skorpion that was seized in March (Image: PA)

Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Ball said: “Skorpion firearms have been shown to be particularly devastating in our communities, as was seen last year with the murder of three of our community members, so it’s absolutely essential we get these firearms off our streets.

“The activity today shows and highlights how committed we are around pursuing and actively pursuing those engaged in this level of criminality.”

Mr Ball said this year had seen 14 firearm discharges in Merseyside, compared with 49 last year, but urged anyone with information about weapons to get in touch.

He added: “We do have ways to protect people, I understand that it’s daunting for people to pass that information but these types of criminals are exploiting the young people in our community and those that are most vulnerable so it’s essential that we work together to target this and get the guns off our streets.”

Last August saw three fatal shootings within a week in Liverpool, including the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel who was killed when Thomas Cashman chased a drug dealer into her home in Dovecot.

Mr Ball said: “We won’t stop until we’ve got all of the guns off our streets.

“It’s been shown over recent years the level of violence criminals are willing to use on Merseyside and by the nature of using weapons like Skorpions, that are capable of such devastation, that shows what they’re willing to do.

“It does present a challenge but that’s why we want to work with the community because it’s working together with the community that’s going to combat this effectively. We can’t do it on our own.”