A notorious Tameside gang who unleashed 18 months of ‘stress, threats and intimidation’ on a gun crime witness have finally been convicted.
Three men, all linked to the conspiracy, were jailed for a total of 15 years following a trial at Minshull Street Crown Court yesterday.
The court heard how the gang – linked by family ties and friendship – ‘bullied’ and ‘intimidated’ the witness to retract a statement made at the time of the shooting.
Detective Constable Anna Barker said: “These trials have had a huge impact on the community of Hyde, and in particular the main witness who has had to endure more than 18 months of stress, threats and intimidation.
“It became apparent that they and their family members had joined forces to do everything in their power to force the victim into retracting his statement, which would have effectively caused the case to collapse and them to walk free.
“Thankfully, the victim remained brave in the face of such intimidation and all those involved in this criminal conspiracy have now been convicted and are either starting lengthy jail sentences or awaiting their fate.”
The shooting took place on August 22, 2013 in the backyard of the Sheik’s Bar and Grill on Market Street, but fortunately nobody was injured.
The victim who has been acquaintances with one of the main offenders Shane Mohammed Sheikh all his life was ‘summoned’ to meet him at the restaurant, so both he and his girlfriend went to the venue at about 4.30pm.
When they arrived, they were confronted in the rear yard by the other main offender Naveed Anwar, who was also a close friend of Sheikh and was living in the gym above the restaurant.
Anwar charged at the couple with a gun in his hand, leading to a scuffle between him and the victim.
The gun was then fired during the disturbance but the victim managed to escape, unhurt, and ran through the main entrance onto Market Street, where he was pursued by Anwar and others unknown.
He managed to find sanctuary at a family address and the police were then called.
Operation Ordaz was launched by the Neighbourhood Policing Team based at Hyde Police Station and on September 5 2013, a series of warrants were executed in the Hyde area.
During the raids, officers seized a brass cartridge and quantities of cocaine and heroin.
A trial was initially scheduled for March 2014, but in the run-up to the court case officers discovered Anwar and Sheikh – assisted by family and friends – were contacting the main victim and trying to intimidate him into retracting his statement.
These included Sheikh’s brother and his wife and resulted in a second trial which has now concluded.
Detective Constable Anna Barker said: “I hope these verdicts go some way to reassuring the people of Hyde that we will not allow criminals to bully, cause fear, carry guns or peddle drugs in our community and we will hunt down and convict anyone who is a member of these criminal gangs.”
Image courtesy of GMP, with thanks.