Police in Widnes have been given more powers to stop and search anyone they suspect of carrying a weapon.

It follows concerns raised by the local community after several incidents in the town, including the fatal stabbing of pub landlord Christian Thornton.

The powers have been granted temporarily under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994).

The order means that officers can stop and search any person or vehicle they believe may be carrying weapons or causing serious violence in a particular area, whether or not they have any grounds of suspicion.

The powers will be in place from 7.30am today, Wednesday, August 14, and will remain in force until 7.30amm on August 15. It applies to an area of Widnes including Arley Drive Playing Fields, and Hough Green Park.

Inspector Paul Chadwick said: “There will be an additional police presence across the town - anyone behaving in a disorderly manner will be targeted.

“I urge anyone with any concerns to speak to a local officer.”

Anyone who has any information about someone carrying a weapon is urged to contact police on 101, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.