Locals living in the gang-blighted streets where schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead said they wear home-made bulletproof vests when they go shopping.
They are so scared of getting caught in the crossfire of shootouts between rival drug mobs they don makeshift bullet-deflecting gear to go outside.
The revelation came as police chiefs warned recreational drug users were responsible for causing the organised crime that led to the nine-year-old’s murder.
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She was shot dead when drug gang hitman Thomas Cashman opened fire as a rival he was targeting tried to take cover inside the youngster’s home in the crime-plagued Dovecot district of Liverpool.
Cashman, 34, who earned £250,000-a-year as an enforcer for mobs running cannabis grow houses’ in the city, faces a life jail stretch when he is sentenced on Monday.
Merseyside Assistant Chief Constable Chris Green ‘everyone’ involved in the drug ‘chain’ bore responsibility for Olivia’s tragic death.
“There’s a strong message,” he said.
“If those individuals who at the weekend are partying out in clubs or socialising in houses think they’re not doing any harm by having a line of cocaine or doing whatever they want to do…
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“Everyone involved in the chain is responsible.
“That is the reality.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week announced a drive against anti-social behaviour including a ban on laughing gas which will be a Class C drug.
A source close to Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Drugs are a scourge on our society. If there wasn’t demand there wouldn’t be supply.
“Organised crime is a global phenomenon. It plays out on the streets of Merseyside.”
Olivia’s murder happened on the 15th anniversary of the 2007 killing of 11-year-old Rhys Jones who was shot dead by a teen gangster as he walked home from football practice in Liverpool.
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