A body builder nicknamed ‘The Demon’ was put behind bars alongside his Harpurhey drug gang after using private eye spy equipment to track their rival dealers in a burglary conspiracy.
Scott Calder, 23, of Hillbrook Avenue, Moston, and his cronies placed tracking devices on the cars of known drug dealers, cannabis farmers as well as innocent victims who had visited hydroponics stores.
Police first brought Calder in for questioning after him and his mum were involved in a gangland shootout after he picked her up from bingo.
Detective Constable Wes Knights said: “These men were involved in a criminal plot to tax cannabis farms – in other words, steal the plants from known dealers and farmers and reap the rewards for themselves.
“The indiscriminate nature of their tactics left innocent members of the public at risk, which is something we, as a police service, cannot tolerate
“The theft of cannabis plants, known among the criminal fraternity as taxing, is a very dangerous one.
“Not only does it continue to propagate the market for illegal drugs to be sold and people to suffer serious harm as a result of consuming those drugs, but it creates rivalries and bad blood between gangs that leads to other criminality.
“All too often, innocent people are caught up in this.”
The muscleman had become notorious in his neighbourhood after calling himself ‘The Demon’.
He was known as the bad boy of social media, writing posts such as: “Stab me in the back, I’ll blast your spine.”
Others said: “Even if I died young who cares” and “In this game there’s only one don.”
Calder was arrested in April after police bugged his car, stopped him and found he was armed with a combat hunting knife.
When officers seized and searched a silver Skoda used by the gang on May 7, they recovered a laptop which was forensically examined and led police to a tracking company.
The company was owned by Calder’s accomplice Dale Hall, 29, and had nine active devices all on cars which were registered to known cannabis farmers, drug dealers or innocent members of the public.
Following this discovery the hoodlums were rounded up one-by-one by officers.
During searches of the suspects’ homes, officers seized tracking devices and software, a meat cleaver, a sword, machetes, drug paraphernalia and mobile phones.
Calder, Hall, Jack Biernat, 27, of Thatch Leach, Chadderton, 25-year-old Paul Andrews of Pitmore Walk, Moston, and Ryan Hayes, 26, Barsdale Avenue, Moston, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglary at an earlier hearing.
Calder was sentenced to three-and-a-half years, Hall to four, Biernat got three, Andrews to three years and nine months and Hayes to two years and eight months in prison.
DC Knights said: “Taking this gang off the streets is a fantastic result not just for GMP, but for people who are fed-up with cannabis dealers operating in their area.
“We have effectively cut out a major supply route for cannabis getting onto our streets and also taken a dangerous group of criminal with access to weapons and tracking devices out of the game.
“It is a massive good news story for everyone. I would urge members of the public to help us in our fight against these dealers.
“If you suspect cannabis is being grown or dealt in your area, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for such as houses were the curtains are always closed and is frequented by different people at night, so if you have any suspicious please call us and we will take action.”
Image courtesy of Adactus Housing Group, via Flickr, with thanks