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Pages: (18) « First ... 14 15 [16] 17 18  ( Go to first unread post )

 UK Underworld, England, Wales, Scotland & Ulster
Junior
Posted: Feb 23 2012, 04:31 PM


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Six jailed in South Woodham Ferrers cannabis factory death case
BBC News, February 23, 2012

Six men have been jailed following a burglary at a cannabis factory in Essex in which a man died.

The men broke in through a roof and stole 6,000 cannabis plants, worth £2m, from a warehouse in South Woodham Ferrers in December 2010.

Police investigating found the body of Tran Duy Hai, 38, a Vietnamese farmer who had fallen from a skylight.

All six were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday. They admitted burglary and drug supply charges.

Speaking after the hearing, Essex Police said Mr Tran was identified a month after his death through fingerprint records held in Vietnam.

It is thought he entered the UK illegally in or after 2008.

'Dangerous' man wanted

The six men were arrested last summer and each charged with one count of conspiracy to burgle and one count of conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Nicky Sherman, 27, of Slewins Close in Hornchurch, Essex, was given a five-year prison term.

Anthony Morrison, 21, of Olive Road, Plaistow, Essex, was jailed for four-and-a-half-years

Deco Mohamoud, 26, of Wellington Road in West Ham, east London, was sentenced to three years.

Mohamed Ibrahim, 25, of William Morley Close, Plaistow, was imprisoned for two-and-a-half years.

Daniel Kelleher, 25, of Dartfield, Romford, Essex, was jailed for two years and three months.

Khadar Yusef, 24, of Bridge Road, Stratford, east London, was given two years in prison.

Det Ch Insp Mark Hall described the investigation as "complex and protracted" and urged anyone with information concerning Mr Tran's death to contact police.

Student Abdi Hassan, then 21, of Park Grove, West Ham, was sentenced to three years in prison at Chelmsford Crown Court on 23 December 2010 for burglary in connection with the case.

Officers are still trying to trace Stephen Morrisson, 22, who is described as slim, about 5ft 8in (1.73m), and has connections in Essex and east London.

He has a number of tattoos on his left arm, including one of a baby's face

He is classed as dangerous and should not be approached, police said.
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Junior
Posted: Feb 24 2012, 11:26 AM


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Tropical fish plot cocaine smugglers jailed
BBC News, February 24, 2012

Two men have been jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine with a street value of £1.6m from Colombia to Nottingham in bags of tropical fish.

Olaf Urlik, 33, and Norbert Jarzabek, 32, both from Poland, admitted conspiracy to import Class A drugs at an earlier hearing on 5 January.

The cocaine was dissolved in fluid in plastic bags within larger bags holding the fish, thousands of which died.

Urlik and Jarzabek were both jailed for 11 years at Nottingham Crown Court.

Last April, Urlik and Jarzabek carried out a trial run without the cocaine in which all 16,000 fish were left to die, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said.

'Very poorly'

Jarzabek and a friend from Strelley, Nottingham, collected the consignment and took it to a lock-up garage in Islington, north London, where the fish were abandoned.

A second cargo, plotted by Urlik and Jarzabek and containing 17kg (37lb) of cocaine, arrived at Heathrow Airport on 9 July last year labelled "Live Tropical Fish, Handle With Extreme Care".

It contained 25 double boxes of almost 550 tropical fish.

Soca and UK Border Agency found 10 of the boxes to have dissolved bags of cocaine stored in the water with the fish.

The fish were left for two days at the airport before being picked up.

Once the boxes were collected they were taken to a flat on Glade Avenue, Nottingham, which Jarzabek had rented a month before.

Investigating Soca officers arrested the men at the property with the evidence.

The fish had limited oxygen for at least 96 hours and many were found dead or lay dying. Only 26 survived and were taken to London Zoo for treatment.

The fish are now in an aquarium at the zoo.

Rachel Jones, team leader of the aquarium, said the case was "really quite unusual".

"We do work with the authorities to take confiscations but they're usually of marine creatures like corals."

She said the fish were "very poorly" when they first arrived and were in intensive care for several weeks.

"They were really skinny and they'd been in terrible water quality for many, many days.

"A lot of TLC was involved in encouraging them to feed. Now they're quite plump and doing really, really well," she said.
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Junior
Posted: Feb 24 2012, 11:30 AM


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Skippers and firm fined almost £1m for part in £63m 'black fish' scam
BBC News, February 24, 2012

Seventeen Scottish skippers and a processing firm have received fines totalling almost £1m for their part in the UK's biggest fraud involving illegal catches of fish.

The men had admitted they were able to sell vast quantities of mackerel and herring by evading EU quotas.

Three firms, one in Shetland and two in Peterhead, were involved in the black fish fraud, worth almost £63m.

Judge Lord Turnbull said the scam was "an episode of shame" for the industry.

During hearings at the High Court in Glasgow, six more skippers also admitted their part in the illegal fish landing.

Stephen Bellamy, 49, from Fraserburgh, John Smith, 36, and James Smith 54, both from Peterhead, Ernest Simpson, 64, Allan Simpson, 42, both from Fraserburgh and Oswald McRonald, 63, from Banff, are due to be sentenced in May, along with four others.

Seventeen men who had previously admitted to being involved in the scam were fined a total of £720,000.

One of the processing companies, Alexander Buchan Limited, which operated a factory in the Aberdeenshire fishing town of Peterhead, was fined £240,000.

A second Peterhead processing plant, Fresh Catch, admitted landing £10.5m of illegal fish. Shetland Catch has already pleaded guilty to landing £47.5m of black fish. Both companies have still to be sentenced.

Scales rigged

The convictions came as the result of a seven-year investigation, Operation Trawler, after the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA), now Marine Scotland, became suspicious about widespread illegal landing of fish within the pelagic fleet.

The 17 fishermen sentenced on Friday illegally landed mackerel and herring at the Shetland Catch factory in Lerwick over a three year period, between January 2002 and March 2005.

They offloaded thousands of tonnes of fish, much more than they were allowed under European rules to protect stocks.

The court has heard how logbooks were falsified and digital weighing scales at the factory were rigged to underestimate the weight of the fish being landed.

In Peterhead, at the Fresh Catch factory, fish was pumped ashore through underground pipes.

Fisheries officers and police raided the factories in 2005 after an investigation into the companies' accounts.

Sentencing the 17 skippers, judge Lord Turnbull said the scam was a "cynical and sophisticated" operation which had the "connivance of a number of different interested parties".

He described the men as normally law-abiding, but said the proceedings brought "embarrassment and shame" to them and their families.

He said: "No-one for example appears to have engaged in this exercise on account of struggling to cope financially with the costs of continued fishing within the quota levels allocated.

"Indeed, in contrast to some within the fishing industry, those engaged in fishing with the pelagic fleet appear to have been able to make very substantial sums over many years, providing very comfortable livings for themselves and their families."

He added: "The motivation was purely financial. Those who were already making a good living saw this as a way more income could be generated and were prepared to participate in deliberate lies and falsehoods."

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead welcomed the fines imposed on the skippers and company.

He said: "There is no doubt that these illegal activities are a stark and shameful reminder of the culture that existed in some sectors of the fishing industry in past years but they do not reflect the much improved culture we see today."

Men fined

Hamish Slater, 53, and Alexander Masson, 66, both from Fraserburgh, were fined £80,000 and £50,000 respectively, while Alexander Wiseman, 60, from Banff, was also fined £50,000.

Another 13 men from Shetland were fined for their role in the scam.

Robert Polson, 48, was fined £70,000; John Irvine, 68, was fined £80,000; William Williamson, 65, was fined £45,000; Laurence Irvine, 66, was fined £80,000; and both David Hutchison, 66, and 56-year-old Thomas Eunson were fined £40,000.

Allister Irvine, 63, and Gary Williamson, 52, were both fined £35,000; John Stewart, 57, was ordered to pay £15,000; and both George Henry, 60, and George Anderson, 56, must pay £12,000.

Colin Leask, 39, and Allen Anderson, 55, were each fined £3,000.

A £70,000 fine was imposed on Victor Buchini, 51, from Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire.

The seventeen men have already been forced to pay back almost £3m in profits they made from the scam.
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Junior
Posted: Feb 27 2012, 04:38 AM


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Port of Felixstowe cigarette smuggling gang jailed
BBC News, February 24, 2012

Seven members of a smuggling gang who illegally imported 20m cigarettes disguised as toys through a Suffolk port have been jailed.

The operation, described as complex and sophisticated, was planned to avoid £3.3m in importation duty, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

The group were caught at the Port of Felixstowe in November 2009.

They received sentences of between two and four-and-a-half years for conspiracy to evade excise duty.

Paul O'Meara, 48, of Sudbury, Suffolk, was described as the "lynchpin" of the scheme which was bankrolled by 47-year-old Robert Doran, a millionaire businessman who lived in Dubai.

A third man, Patrick Gray, 53, of Hertford, helped provide the set-up cost of the operation, estimated at about £200,000.

All three men admitted conspiracy to evade excise duty. They were each ordered to serve four years and six months in prison.

Mark Paltenghi, prosecuting, said: "An international smuggling operation of this kind would require meticulous planning at every stage.

"It also required a significant up-front cost."

The court heard the group decided the illicit cargo needed to be something bulky but innocent so they described the containers as toys.

The men shipped the cigarettes from Dubai through Hong Kong rather than a direct route to the UK, to avoid suspicion, Mr Paltenghi said.

Martin Cleland, 45, of Hornchurch; Mark Sadgrove, 39, of Loughton; Wayne Stock 38, of Chelmsford, and Matthew Neale 44, of Harlow, all in Essex, were described as "foot soldiers" for the operation.

They were found guilty of conspiracy to evade excise duty after and trial. Cleland received four years and six months; Sadgrove, two and a half years and Stock and Neale two years.

The group had been placed under surveillance by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

After the hearing, Paul Barton, assistant director of criminal investigation for HRMC, said: "Cheap tobacco products can often seem like an attractive offer.

"However, the truth is these sales are unlicensed and unregulated."
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Junior
Posted: Feb 29 2012, 10:41 AM


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Parts of Manchester becoming 'no-go areas controlled by drugs gangs' like Mexico and Brazil, United Nations report claims
Manchester Evening News, February 28, 2012

Parts of Manchester are becoming no-go areas where drugs gangs are effectively in control, a United Nations drugs chief said today.

Professor Hamid Ghodse, president of the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said there was "a vicious cycle of social exclusion and drugs problems and fractured communities" in British cities including Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

The development of "no-go areas" was being fuelled by threats such as social inequality, migration and celebrities normalising drug abuse, he warned.

Helping marginalised communities with drugs problems "must be a priority", he said.

"We are looking at social cohesion, the social disintegration and illegal drugs.

"In many societies around the world, whether developed or developing, there are communities within the societies which develop which become no-go areas.

"Drug traffickers, organised crime, drug users, they take over. They will get the sort of governance of those areas.

"Examples are in Brazil, Mexico, in the United States, in the UK, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and therefore it is no good to have only law enforcement, which always shows it does not succeed."

Prof Ghodse called for such communities to be offered drug abuse prevention programmes, treatment and rehabilitation services, and the same levels of educational, employment and recreational opportunities as in the wider society.

"Youth of these communities must have similar chances to those in the wide society and have a right to be protected from drug abuse and drug dependence," he said.

"It is crucial that the needs of communities experiencing social disintegration are urgently tackled before the tipping point is reached, beyond which effective action becomes impossible.

"The consequences of failure are too high for society and should be avoided at all cost."

The INCB's annual report for 2011 found persistent social inequality, migration, emerging cultures of excess and a shift in traditional values were some of the key threats to social cohesion.

As the gap between rich and poor widens, and "faced with a future with limited opportunities, individuals within these communities may increasingly become disengaged from the wider society and become involved in a range of personally and socially harmful behaviours, including drug abuse and drug dealing," it said.

The report added: "While migration offers many positive benefits to the migrant and to society at large, it can create a sense of dislocation from the surrounding community and a sense of vulnerability on the part of those who are displaced.

"Where migrating social groups have travelled from areas associated with illicit drug production and drug abuse, there is a greater likelihood of individuals engaging in forms of drug misuse as a way of coping with such a sense of dislocation."

Celebrities' use of illicit drugs may also "contribute to a growing normalisation of certain forms of drug misuse within the wider society and in turn can lead to the undermining of social cohesion".

But the INCB warned none of the factors "should be seen as leading individuals inevitably into a lifestyle of drug abuse and criminality".

"Whatever the social processes and social pressures at hand, human beings still have the capacity to exercise some element of choice in what they do and what they refrain from doing," it said.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Ending Gang and Youth Violence report published by the Government in 2011 sets out a comprehensive strategy for supporting local areas to reduce the effects of gang violence.

"We want to stop young people from joining gangs in the first place through intervention and support to children and families at risk of gang violence.

"This will be matched with tough and intensive enforcement action to bring perpetrators to justice."
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Junior
Posted: Mar 2 2012, 04:24 PM


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Prisoner Russell Knaggs jailed for Colombia drugs plot
BBC News, March 2, 2012

The ringleader of a gang found guilty of plotting to import five tonnes of cocaine to the UK from Colombia, has been jailed for 20 years.

Russell Knaggs, from South Yorkshire, orchestrated the ambitious scheme while serving a 16-year drug sentence in a Nottinghamshire prison in 2009.

Phillip Hadley, 52, of Conisbrough, South Yorkshire was given 18 years.

Robert Rich, 40, of Barnsley, was ordered to serve 14 years during sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court.

The three men were found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine during a five-month trial.

Anthony Perger, 51, from Sheffield, who admitted the charge ahead of the trial, was given a five-and-a-half year sentence.

'Beyond reach'

Knaggs was an inmate at Lowdham Grange prison at the time of the offence.

The plot involved arranging for the drugs to be shipped from Colombia hidden in consignments of fruit.

They would arrive via Costa Rica, California, Germany and Belgium.

The court heard the men communicated in code, referring to the plot as "a plastering job" but the plot was foiled when prison officers found an outline plan during a cell search.

Officers found a two-sided piece of A4 paper with transfer routes and figures on.

After the plan was discovered, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) monitored the men both inside and outside the prison.

Gerry Smyth, Soca's north east regional head of investigations, said: "Knaggs believed he could continue business from behind bars but no-one should think they are beyond reach.

"Soca and its partners will use their expertise and determination to stamp down hard on organised criminals, regardless of where they operate."
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Junior
Posted: Mar 6 2012, 08:49 AM


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Four arrests after raids on homes of suspected gang members
BBC News, March 6, 2012

Four male youths have been arrested in south London after police carried out raids following a series of gang-related stabbings.

Homes of suspected gang members were raided in Lambeth during the morning.

It follows the murder of 17-year-old Kwame Ofosu-Asare in Brixton on Friday, Scotland Yard said.

Police are examining if it was linked to seven other stabbings - all in the same area of London - which happened within eight days of each other.

The male youths were arrested for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and have been taken to south London police stations where they remain in custody.

They have not been arrested in connection with the murder of Kwame Ofosu-Asare, police said.

'Mindless violence'

The raids were carried out as part of the force's work to help prevent further violence.

Kwame was found on Friday evening with stabs wounds in Adelaide Close, Moorlands Estate, Brixton. Police said he, along with a friend, were chased by two knifemen.

Officers are investigating if the killing is linked to another stabbing on Friday when a 17-year-old boy was attacked outside Norwood bus garage, West Norwood, at 13:00 GMT.

The attacks follow five gang-related street attacks across Lambeth which happened on 25 February.

Commander Steve Rodhouse, of the force's specialist crime and operations directorate, said the raids signalled a clear message that "mindless violence" would not be tolerated.

"Our priority is to find out what has happened, bring those responsible to justice and prevent any further incidents in the coming days and weeks.

"We will continue to aggressively pursue any lawful opportunities against those who choose to become involved in violent crime, so that we can protect potential future victims, the community and the wider public."
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Junior
Posted: Mar 6 2012, 08:51 AM


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Police to target cannabis growers across the North West
BBC News, March 5, 2012

Police from across the North West are launching a month-long crackdown on cannabis cultivation.

More than 5,000 cannabis factories have been uncovered across the region in the last three years, police said.

They contained over 345,000 plants with an estimated street value of £140m.

Operation Broadley will see police in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales and Cumbria working together.

They will work alongside officers from Titan, the north west regional organised crime unit, and have asked the public to act as their "eyes and ears".

Det Supt John Lyons, from Titan, said: "Cannabis is not the harmless drug it is often perceived to be and is the most-used illegal drug in the UK.

"An increasing number of people who grow cannabis are directly funding dangerous, organised criminal gangs. These gangs are often responsible for gun crime, violence and intimidation across the North West.

"We appeal to anyone with any information about cannabis cultivation in their area to make contact during this month of action and beyond."

Police say tighter border controls have led dealers to grow marijuana plants in the UK rather than import it.

Cannabis cultivation offences involving 10 or more plants increased by 16% in Greater Manchester last year.

In Merseyside, there have been 1,214 people arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis in hundreds of raids in the last three years.

And in Lancashire, 485 cannabis farms were discovered between October 2010 and December 2011.

Cannabis was reclassified from a class C to a class B drug in 2009, with dealers caught selling the drug facing up to 14 years in prison.

Possession can lead to anything from an £80 on-the-spot fine up to five years imprisonment.
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Junior
Posted: Mar 7 2012, 07:17 PM


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Cannabis plants found in bunker near Wigsley airfield
BBC News, March 7, 2012

A man has been arrested after more than 1,100 cannabis plants were found in a disused underground air-raid shelter in Nottinghamshire.

The plants were discovered near a former RAF airfield in Wigsley, which lies between Newark and Lincoln.

Police searched the area after being contacted by a member of the public.

A 59-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drugs cultivation and later released on police bail pending further inquiries.

The plants have been removed from the shelter and will be destroyed.

It follows a raid in Newark in January, when Revenue and Customs officers seized about 3,000 cannabis plants with a street value of £1.5m from two industrial units.
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Junior
Posted: Mar 8 2012, 02:25 PM


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Three arrests after '£1m cannabis haul' in Burton
BBC News, March 8, 2012

Three people from Staffordshire have been arrested after the seizure of cannabis with an estimated street value of £1m.

Over 550lb (250kg) of the drug was recovered from a number of addresses in Burton-on-Trent on Tuesday, police say.

Raids were co-ordinated with customs and immigration officials in Jersey following an investigation into suspected drug trafficking.

Two men, aged 49 and 44, and a woman, 49, all from Burton, were bailed.

Det Ch Insp Paul Clews, from Staffordshire Police, said the seizure demonstrated the force's "ongoing commitment through Operation Nemesis to tackle organised criminality linked to illegal drugs".

Mr Clews added: "We are continuing our investigations to ensure that any people responsible are properly brought to justice.

"As part of our investigation we will be working closely with our colleagues from the State of Jersey Customs and Immigration Service who are completing their own investigation."
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Junior
Posted: Mar 12 2012, 09:32 AM


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Three arrested in £1.8m Glasgow drugs haul
BBC News, March 10, 2012

Police in Glasgow have seized drugs with a street value of about £1.8m in a series of raids.

Cocaine, cannabis resin, ecstasy and benzocaine were found in the properties in Gartloch Road, Balveny Street and Craiglockhart Crescent.

Strathclyde Police said major crime unit officers had also seized a five-figure sum of cash in the raids on Friday.

Two men, aged 46 and 48, and a 48-year-old woman were arrested.

Det Supt Andy Gunn said: "This is a significant seizure and illustrates our commitment to cracking down on drugs.

"It is proof that through effective intelligence-gathering we can successfully detect and arrest those involved and disrupt their activities."
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Junior
Posted: Mar 13 2012, 02:22 PM


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14 arrested for money laundering
BBC News, March 13, 2012

Thirteen people have been arrested for suspected money laundering in NI.

A fourteenth person was arrested in Stoke Newington, London.

The 13 men and one woman were arrested following searches by HM Revenue & Customs investigating suspected £15m money laundering, income tax and VAT fraud linked to the construction industry.

On Tuesday, 31 businesses and homes were searched in Belfast and Counties Armagh, Antrim and Londonderry.

Operation Concentric was the largest operation carried out by HMRC officers, supported by PSNI officers, in Northern Ireland.

In co-ordinated activity in Stoke Newington, a man was arrested after two businesses and one private address were raided by HMRC accompanied by officers from the Metropolitan Police.

An organised crime gang is believed to have created a chain of companies, claiming to sub-contract labour for construction projects, with the intent of disappearing before any tax was paid.

Business records, cash and computer equipment were seized during the operation.

"This investigation is targeting a suspected organised crime gang involved in sophisticated multi-million pound income tax and VAT frauds in the construction industry, and the associated laundering of the criminal profits," said John Whiting, assistant director of criminal investigation with HMRC.

"The frauds are believed to have resulted in the theft of millions of pounds of public revenue."

In Belfast, nine men were arrested aged between 22 and 57. A 48-year-old woman was also arrested.

A 46-year-old man was arrested in County Armagh, a 54-year-old man in County Londonderry and a 35-year-old man in County Antrim.

The man arrested in London was 37.

All are currently being interviewed by HMRC officers and investigations are continuing.
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Junior
Posted: Mar 21 2012, 02:28 PM


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Surveillance 'led to £180,000 drugs find'
BBC News, March 21, 2012

Police surveillance led to the seizure of drugs worth up to £180,000, the High Court has heard.

Details emerged as bail was refused to Aidan Austin, 36, of Lever Park, Portstewart, who was one of five men arrested after the drugs were allegedly transported from Portstewart to Bangor.

He is charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and being concerned in the supply of Class B drugs.

A judge said the drugs and cash found pointed to a "major trading operation".

The drugs consignment is alleged to have included cocaine and amphetamines.

The High Court was told on Wednesday that a dummy run had been carried out a week before the seizure was made last December.

Mr Austin is allegedly linked to the operation through contact between his mobile phone and two brothers who are among the co-accused.

A defence barrister stressed that the case against his client was based only on phone traffic.

But Mr Justice McLaughlin told him it could potentially be compelling circumstantial evidence.

The judge also pointed out: "This is not an operation that just materialised because somebody had a good idea.

"This is part of a police surveillance operation."

He added that the amount of cocaine and amphetamines seized meant those involved were allegedly able to "have sufficient contact with criminals of a similar mind to be able to rendezvous twice with them in Bangor".
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Junior
Posted: Mar 21 2012, 02:30 PM


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Man who ran brothels in Cambridge, Berkshire and Surrey jailed
BBC News, March 21, 2012

A man who ran 10 brothels across Cambridge, Berkshire and Surrey has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Kun Yi He, 39, of Chessington, Surrey, was arrested during raids on brothels by UK Border Agency staff in 2011.

The Chinese man was found guilty of conspiracy to manage brothels following a trial at Reading Crown Court.

A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: "Thanks to the action we took, the perpetrator is behind bars, facing deportation and the brothels shut."

He, formerly of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was identified by the agency as the head of a network of 10 brothels across the south and east of England.

They included addresses in Cambridge, Maidenhead, Slough, Wokingham and Godalming.

The raids were part of one of the biggest operations of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, involving about 150 officers from the UK Border Agency and eight different police forces targeting 13 addresses.

Bernadette Ellison, from the UK Border Agency's South East Criminal and Financial Investigation team, said: "There is no doubt that this individual played a key role in the setting up and running of this wide network of brothels."

She said the investigation, the biggest of its kind in the UK, demonstrated their "commitment to tackling the international sex trade".

Women, mostly Thai and Chinese nationals, were found working at the raided premises. Some of the women have been deported while others have been ordered to report to the UK Border Agency while their cases are considered.

Two other people charged in connection with the same conspiracy have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage brothels.

Ai Ju Su, 35, of Abbey Barn Road in High Wycombe, and Manjit Singh, 35, of Knowl Hill, Maidenhead, will be sentenced at a later date.

The UK Border Agency's South East Criminal and Financial Investigation team is a specialist unit of police officers seconded from forces across the south east working to investigate organised immigration crime.
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Junior
Posted: Mar 21 2012, 02:32 PM


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Cannabis plants found in Tattershall warehouse
BBC News, March 21, 2012

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A 59-year-old man has been arrested after 800 cannabis plants and 500 seedlings were found in a warehouse in Lincolnshire.

The plants were discovered in Tattershall with several large bags of cropped cannabis, hydroponics, lighting rigs and ventilation systems.

Lincolnshire Police said it was "an industrial-scale operation".

The man was arrested on suspicion of cultivating a Class B drug and has been released on police bail until June.

The cannabis plants, and equipment for growing them, will be destroyed, police said.
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Junior
Posted: Mar 23 2012, 02:34 PM


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Men jailed for Norwich Rose Lane car park murder
BBC News, March 23, 2012

Two members of a London drugs gang have been jailed for life for murdering a man in a Norwich car park.

Honorato Christovao, 54, was beaten to death after he was lured to the car park in Rose Lane in February 2011.

Spencer Yiadom, 22, of Saville Road, Newham, east London, must serve 24 years before being considered for release.

Anton St Paul, also 22 and of Newham, was jailed for a minimum for 23 years at Norwich Crown Court.

The court was told the attack took place in revenge for a rival gang's earlier attack on a member of GBen, a Newham-based drugs gang.

Four members of GBen drove from London to Norwich and ringleader Yiadom struck Mr Christovao with a heavy object in a sock or glove.

He died two days later.

Yiadom admitted murder after his trial began.

St Paul, a drugs money courier of Keogh Road, denied murder and claimed he had witnessed the assault but did not take part.

He was convicted on Thursday.

The same jury acquitted 28-year-old Antony Obariase, 28, of Norwich Road, Newham, who had driven the men from London and denied murder.
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Posted: Mar 26 2012, 04:58 PM


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Three in court after £60,000 drugs swoop in Fochabers and Aviemore
BBC News, March 26, 2012

Three men have appeared in court after drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds were seized following an operation in Fochabers and on the A9, near Aviemore.

Police found drugs including heroin and cannabis with an estimated street value of £60,000 on Thursday.

Ryan Day, 24, Lawrence Mitchell, 26, both from Liverpool, and Louis Butler, 24, from Aberdeen, appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court.

They made no plea or declaration and were remanded in custody.

The case was continued for further examination with the three due to appear in court again next month.
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Posted: Apr 1 2012, 06:27 AM


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Hackney gang members jailed after sting operation
By George Coote, EastLondonLines
Hackney News, March 31, 2012

An 18-month undercover sting operation, coordinated by the Metropolitan Police and Hackney Council led to the sentencing this week of more than 30 gang members.

The gang appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court between March 19 and March 23. Twenty-nine of the accused received custodial sentences, amounting to 71 years in total, for assorted drugs and firearms offences, including sentences of six years for two men, Simeon Collins and Lakhbir Gozra- both for supplying class-A drugs. Full details of the sentencing can be found here on the Metropolitan Police website.

The sting operation, dubbed “Operation Chalais”, saw police work with council housing and probation workers to set up a fake fashion business in Hackney, through which undercover officers collected information on two notorious local gangs, The Pembury Boys and The Ballance Boys.

The information collected by officers led to the identification and arrest of a number of drug dealers, and produced information that led to the recovery of a Sterling submachine gun that had been concealed in a childrens’ playground on the Pembury Estate.

Many of the arrests took place during a series of early morning raids in August last year, as ELL reported here. The raids came just a few days before extensive rioting in the area.

Detective Superintendent Lloyd Gardner, of the Met’s Trident Gang Crime Command attributed the operation’s success to the Police’s effective cooperation with Hackney Borough Council: “Operation Chalais has led to the imprisonment of some of the most dangerous gang members in Hackney Borough.”

“Hackney Police working in partnerships with Hackney Council has delivered a gang strategy that has seen sustained reductions in crime. Crime within Hackney Borough is now at its lowest level for 10 years.”

Hackney’s Council Cabinet Member for Crime, Sophie Linden, added: “The strong action taken by Council officers and Police during Operation Chalais, and the resulting sentences, sends out a clear message – gang violence will not be tolerated in Hackney.”
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Posted: Apr 3 2012, 09:42 AM


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The Krays? They were both gay - and both brainless! Train Robbers, nice people! 60's gang boss Eddie Richardson sings like a canary about his time at the heart of London underworld
By Jane Fryer, Daily Mail, April 2, 2012

Eddie Richardson is standing outside London’s Old Vic theatre. From a distance, he looks a twinkly old chap in a smart suit, with wild eyebrows and a drift of dandruff, and is proudly clutching a copy of his autobiography in a crumpled Tesco carrier bag.

But this is the man once described by not one but two Home Secretaries as ‘one of the most dangerous men in Britain’. He was the dark lord of the Sixties London gangland scene and, together with his brother Charlie, was as infamous as Ronnie and Reggie Kray and ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser.

Under cover of his scrap metal business, he dabbled in torture, drug dealing, protection and extortion rackets and was sentenced to a total of 46 years in prison.

Today, he is 75, lives in a £2.5 million house in Beckenham, Kent, drives a big, fat silver Mercedes, holidays in Marbella, organises charity golf competitions and paints pricey portraits of friends and, occasionally, their dogs (‘so much easier than people’).

He also hires himself out for ‘nostalgia lunch dates’ — £300 for a slap-up fish and chip lunch and a ‘nice chat about the good old days’ — courtesy of a bizarre website called Gangland Memorabilia.

This online shrine to Sixties gangland sells everything from Ronnie Kray’s personal prison radio (£500) to a ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser autographed U.S. dollar note. Business is alarmingly brisk and lunch with ‘the legend who is Eddie Richardson’ is the star attraction.

Today I am Eddie’s lunch date. He grins wolfishly, kisses me on both cheeks and escorts me to ‘the best fish and chips in London’ and what he promises will be a ‘good chat’.

He is true to his word.

Over our (very excellent) fish and chips, we veer from the Wild West that was London in the Sixties and Seventies — ‘people think things are bad now, but back then the police were so corrupt that a straight copper would never have made it onto the Flying Squad’ — to the £70 million drugs deal that earned him a 35-year prison sentence in 1990. ‘That was a bit daunting, aged 54. That’s when I took up art.’

We have a gossip about some of Eddie’s pals. There are the Kray brothers (‘both gay and both brainless of Britain’ he says. ‘Reggie used to get The Times every day, but never once opened it’). And Frankie Fraser (‘Game for anything you asked him and now in an old people’s home in Nunhead’).

Not forgetting the Great Train robbers (‘really nice men’), the prison reformer Lord Longford (‘always scruffy but he never rammed religion down your throat’) and Brian Keenan, then head of the armed council of the IRA (‘lovely fellow but not brilliant at bridge’).

It’s all a bit surreal and disconcerting — chatting cosily about hardened criminals who wrecked countless lives and terrorised great swathes of London.

The only thing he isn’t too keen to discuss is the ‘torture chamber’ where ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser (the Richardsons’ enforcer) allegedly punished anyone who crossed the brothers, using pliers, electrodes, nails, electric fires, knives, axes and anything else he could lay his hands on.

‘It’s ridiculous!’ Eddie growls, suddenly not quite so twinkly or cosy. ‘There was no torture. How can you pull a tooth out with a pair of pliers?’

With a great deal of force, presumably. Fraser, who has admitted murder, was given a ten-year prison sentence for torture in 1966 and, with typical rogueishness, charges royally to tell of his horrific deeds.

But Eddie’s favourite subject, other than his autobiography (‘it’s so good some people have read it 20 times’) is prison. Which isn’t surprising given he’s spent over a third of his life behind bars (or ‘away’, as he calls it) as a Double Category ‘A’ prisoner.

‘That’s one step up from Category ‘A’,’ he says, absurdly proudly. ‘You have to have two screws with you everywhere you go. They were scared of me. I was always working out how to crack the system.’

Which he did. And soon boasted an array of special privileges that included his own TV, constant access to the prison yard and a steady stream of epicurean delights and post prandial brandies.

‘A few of us took turns to cook for ourselves — I once did a Christmas dinner for 16 with a 20lb turkey and I always had an after-dinner brandy. In one prison we had so much food —legs of lamb, joints of beef, chickens — that we couldn’t get it all in the prison fridge. I had to apply to the governor for permission to buy another fridge.’

Permission was granted.

There were the endless bridge games with IRA man Brian Keenan.

‘We’d be playing a nice game of bridge and someone would come rushing in and Brian would have to leave the table and go and sort out some crisis in Ireland.’

And football matches, jellied eels and strawberries and cream with the Great Train robbers. Not to mention countless teas and biscuits with the Krays (‘though they were both so brainless you couldn’t have a decent conversation with them’) — until Ronnie was certified and sent off to Broadmoor.

He was also involved in a prison mutiny, a six-week hunger strike, countless assaults and a failed escape attempt which left two guards in hospital. ‘We were supposed to be making a nice wooden cabinet in the woodwork class, but actually made two 26ft ladders and no one noticed’ — until the bungled break-out.

Eleven years later, including an extra 450 days for bad behaviour, Eddie returned home to his scrap metal business, all his old friends and, funnily enough, sufficient funds to pay for a glamorous life skiing, bobsleighing and jet-setting around the world.

It was only a matter of time before he was caught out again — when cashflow slowed down and a £70 million cocaine and cannabis heist caught his eye.

‘I used to turn down loads, but this one looked too good. I knew the people this end, I knew the South Americans. I thought I could trust them. If we’d got away with it, we’d have made a lot of money. But c’est la vie.’

Instead, he got 35 years (eventually commuted to 13), bringing his total served years to 26.

Does he feel any remorse, as he tucks into his cod and chips?

‘Remorse? No!’ he looks outraged, leg jiggling in protest. ‘I’ve been given more than enough punishment.’

Would he ‘go near’ anything again, aged 75, or has he finally retired?

‘No. I don’t need the money. At least I don’t think I would . . .’

He’d be risking a lot. Today he leads a very genteel life in Beckenham. He lives with his beloved 85-year-old Auntie Dorothy (‘She can’t cook so I do all that’), eats in expensive Italian restaurants with his 56-year-old girlfriend June, meets up with some of the Great Train Robbers once a month. It all seems rather outrageous.

Aren’t those paid-for nostalgia lunches morally repugnant, I ask him. ‘So what? I don’t care. I really don’t,’ he snaps.

And despite all his cosy chat about his Auntie and his doggy portraits, I get a unpleasant glimpse of the thug glowering beneath. So was he really one of the most dangerous men in Britain?

‘I probably was. I was full of adrenaline and dangerous. I wouldn’t want now to meet myself as I was then. And the daft thing is, I was a bright boy — not like most of the others. If I’d put my mind to it I bet I could have made more money honestly than I did through crime. But I’m not complaining.

‘I’ve been to some of the best restaurants in the world and I’ve been in some of the worst solitary confinement blocks. So I’ve had a bit of variety.’

And with that he gives me a big dandruffy hug and a scratchy kiss on both cheeks and I try very hard not to think about pliers and electrodes and all the crimes that he wasn’t caught for.
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Posted: Apr 3 2012, 01:32 PM


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Two jailed over brothels in Cambridge, Berkshire and Surrey
BBC News, April 3, 2012

A man and a woman have been jailed after admitting managing brothels in Cambridgeshire, Berkshire and Surrey.

Ai Su, 35, of Abbey Barn Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire was jailed for 30 months.

Manjit Singh, 35, of Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Berkshire was imprisoned for 28 months.

Reading Crown Court heard that 10 sites were used as brothels over a three-year period. If one location was shut down - another would open in the same area.

The pair placed adverts in local papers advertising their services.

Su acted as a "call centre", answering inquires for all the brothels and telling clients what was on offer, then directing them to premises.

Singh was also given nine months for a breach of a suspended sentence order.
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Posted: Apr 3 2012, 01:34 PM


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Woman charged over £140,000 cannabis find
BBC News, April 3, 2012

A woman has been charged with importation and possession with intent to supply after cannabis with a street value of £140,000 was found in a car.

Carol Lesley Hickman, 51, from Liverpool, was arrested after the class B drugs were discovered in the vehicle at the seaport in Douglas.

Customs had stopped the vehicle travelling to the island from Liverpool on Saturday.

Police said another woman was also arrested and later bailed.

Det Insp Steve Maddocks said: "The amount seized is considerable and is the single biggest seizure the island has had to date."
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Posted: Apr 3 2012, 01:36 PM


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Murdered gangster Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll branded 'a maniac'
BBC News, April 3, 2012

The trial of a man accused of shooting dead Kevin "Gerbil" Carroll has heard the deceased Glasgow gangland figure described as "a maniac".

Steven Glen agreed when questioned at the High Court in Glasgow that Mr Carroll, 29, was rumoured to have disfigured and tortured his enemies.

The 26-year-old was giving evidence for a second day at Ross Monaghan's trial.

Mr Monaghan, 30, denies murdering Mr Carroll at the Asda car park in Robroyston, Glasgow, in January 2010.

Mr Glen has previously told the trial he saw two men shoot Mr Carroll minutes after he had met with him.

Drugs offer

He told defence QC Derek Ogg that he arranged to meet Mr Carroll at the supermarket car park at lunchtime after receiving a threatening text from him.

Mr Glen, who said he was making £250,000-a year dealing cocaine, was offered £120,000 by Mr Carroll to work for him.

The witness said he was told he was working for Gerbil and would be getting his drugs from him.

Mr Ogg asked: "How much would you be getting from him?" and Mr Glen replied: "£10,000 a month."

The QC then added: "It's good money why wouldn't you want to take it," and Mr Glen said: "I never said and he got murdered right after it."

The jury heard that seconds after Mr Carroll left Mr Glen to return to his car, he was shot dead as he sat in the back seat of a three-door Audi A3 car.

Mr Glen told Mr Ogg that he arranged to meet Mr Carroll at 12:30, but he did not arrive until after 13:00.

He said that Mr Carroll told him he wanted to take over all the independent drug dealers.

Shooting threat

The jury was told that Mr Carroll told Mr Glen that he was working for him and added: "Anyone who doesn't toe the line will be getting a bang."

Mr Glen was asked what he understood by this and said: "They would be shot."

Mr Ogg asked: "Have you heard stories about him (Mr Carroll) torturing people?" and he replied: "Yes."

The QC then said: "Have you heard stories about him maiming and disfiguring people?" and Mr Glen replied: "Yes."

Mr Glen was then asked if he had heard of Mr Carroll digging the tongues out of people's mouths and said: "I've never heard that."

Mr Ogg said: "Was the Gerbil out of control," and Mr Glen replied: "He was a maniac. I know that."

He was then asked if Mr Carroll's associates thought he was out of control and said: "I don't know. I don't know what his friends thought about it."

Mr Glen was asked if it was just coincidence that just seconds after meeting with Gerbil he was shot down and replied: "It's the best I can do. It is a coincidence. It is nothing to do with me."

He was asked if there had been any reprisals against him by members of Mr Carroll's family or any of his friends and said: "No."

It is alleged that while masked and acting with others, Mr Monaghan murdered Mr Carroll by repeatedly discharging loaded handguns at him, shooting him on the head and body.

Mr Monaghan is also accused, while acting with others, of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of a revolver, pistol and ammunition within undergrowth in Coatbridge and Airdrie, both North Lanarkshire.

It is also claimed a car - bearing false number plates YF 55 EZZ - was set on fire.

Mr Monaghan also faces a number of firearms charges.

He denies all the charges against him and has lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Mr X, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and seven others.

The trial before judge Lord Brailsford continues.
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Posted: Apr 11 2012, 09:57 AM


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Six arrested in people trafficking inquiry
BBC News, April 10, 2012

Six people have been arrested in Leicester by police investigating people trafficking.

Officers raided two properties in Lyme Road and New Parks Road and detained four men, aged 19, 26, 28 and 47, and two women, aged 22 and 31.

Four women who were also found at the addresses are being provided with support from specialist officers.

Police said they had acted on information from neighbours who became suspicious of activity at the houses.

Det Insp Simon Preston said: "Offences like this don't regularly occur in Leicester but that doesn't mean that we are any less dedicated to targeting those we are aware of.

"We have carried out two warrants like this in the past two months and hope it will act as a warning to anyone involved in such crimes."
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Posted: Apr 13 2012, 12:57 PM


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Fake sheikh attempted fraud gang jailed
BBC News, April 13, 2012

Four men have been jailed for an attempted £1.5m fraud which involved two people posing as rich Arab sheiks.

They pretended to own a £6m home in an attempt to secure a "loan".

The fraud was exposed when central London finance company Masthaven became suspicious and called in police, who organised a sting operation.

The four had all admitted conspiracy to defraud by way of false representation. One of the defendants disappeared while on bail awaiting sentencing.

Mortgage broker Jonathan Flynn, 38, of Pudsey, West Yorkshire, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Shakil Ahmed, 36, from Paddington, west London, was jailed for three years in his absence, having fled while on bail.

Ahmed Ali, 47, of Manchester and Shane Martin, 51, both of Tarporley, Cheshire, were jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Flynn was also banned from being a company director for seven years.

The Old Bailey heard that Ali was one of the men who posed as a sheikh.

Another man accused of imitating a sheikh was acquitted.

'Forged documents'

The court heard the police operation was staged at a West End hotel after Andrew Bloom, managing director of Masthaven, became suspicious of the gang.

Two of the men turned up posing as a pair of wealthy Arab brothers and were arrested.

Prosecutor Jonathan Kinnear QC said the brothers, who did not exist, were put forward to guarantee the loan with an expensive property.

The flat, which was on sale, had been "hijacked" using paperwork from the Land Registry, he said.

Speaking after sentencing, City of London Police Det Con Lizzie Roberts said: "The gang used forged documents, a fake property valuation and dressed as sheikhs to try and disguise their true intentions, which was to commit a major fraud.

"But none of this was enough to overcome sound business practices and an investigation team ready to act quickly."
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Posted: Apr 13 2012, 05:30 PM


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Ashington cannabis plants seized by Northumbria Police
BBC News, April 13, 2012

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Cannabis plants with a street value of "hundreds of thousands of pounds" have been recovered by Northumbria Police.

About 200 to 300 cannabis plants were recovered at an address in Maple Street, Ashington, on Thursday.

Inquiries are ongoing in an effort to trace the person or people responsible for setting up the farm, police said.

Det Insp Don Gibson, from Northumbria Police, said the force executed a search warrant and secured the area at about 14:00 BST.
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Posted: Apr 13 2012, 05:32 PM


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Southampton Customs arrest man after £60k tobacco
BBC News, April 13, 2012

A man was arrested after HM Revenue & Customs seized tobacco valued at £60,000 at Southampton's container port.

The British man was apprehended on suspicion of trying to avoid paying excise duty on the 550kg of fruit-flavoured tobacco.

Customs officers discovered the load hidden in a 20ft cargo container at the port on Wednesday.

The man was arrested in London the following day and released on bail.

HM Revenue & Customs spokesman Bob Gaiger said the tobacco had been found hidden in a container purporting to contain soft drinks and household goods.

He said: "The fruit tobacco appears to have been smuggled into the UK on a container ship from Dubai. This type of crime undercuts legitimate retailers and costs the UK economy around £2bn a year."

Investigations are ongoing.
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Posted: Apr 15 2012, 08:56 AM


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Crime clan probed by police after lethal cache of weapons found in leafy suburb
By Craig McDonald, Daily Record, April 14, 2012

A TERRIFYING arsenal of weapons has been found hidden at a former farm on the edge of one of Scotland’s wealthiest suburbs.

It’s feared the cache belongs to crime gangs. Police are investigating if the guns – including an Army-issue SA-80 assault rifle and two Kalashnikovs – may have been sold to gangsters by rogue soldiers.

The alarm was raised after a man walking across fields near leafy Bearsden, Glasgow, saw a black holdall hidden in a black bin among rubble on a grass verge near a former stables.

He went to investigate – and found a rifle.

Police were called. And officers found a haul consisting of the SA-80, the two AK-47s, two handguns, a shotgun and at least a dozen magazines of ammunition.

One theory is that the SA-80 and the Kalashnikovs were brought back by soldiers from Iraq or Afghanistan for sale to crime gangs.

The crooks could then have stashed them for future use.

The Daniel and Lyons gangs, who have been involved in a violent feud for years, operate in north Glasgow, close to where the weapons were found.

Ballistics experts will study the guns to see if they match evidence from unsolved shootings, not just in Scotland but in the rest of the UK and overseas.

The guns were found on Kessington Farm at Killermont, Bearsden, yards from a school.

A huge police operation, which involved 20 officers including search teams and forensics experts, was continuing at the site yesterday.

Musician Stewart Grieve, pictured, who lives at the farm with two housemates, said: “We have a friend who lives elsewhere in Glasgow but keeps some horses here, and he was over at the farm on Thursday.

“At about 6pm, he was taking a shortcut back from the fields here and spotted a black holdall in a black bin lying on its side.

“It seemed unusual so he had a look inside and found a rifle inside blue tarpaulin.

“I am not an arms expert but know a little bit from playing computer games.

“We recognised the SA-80 assault rifle which the Army use and called the police straight away. It was just two uniformed bobbies who arrived at first and they had a look inside.

“They obviously realised very quickly that we had not been mistaken – and then found that there were more weapons in the bag.

“We were asked to take ourselves inside the house for safety reasons and an armed response team arrived within a few minutes. The forensic people have been here ever since.

“We are just totally shocked at finding this kind of stuff on our doorstep.”

The farm sits next to the Kessington area of Bearsden, and to Boclair Academy. The tough Glasgow areas of Summerston, Maryhill and Possil are nearby.

Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency joined personnel from Strathclyde police at the scene yesterday.

Detective Superintendent Jim Downie, leading the investigation, said: “We are continuing to conduct searches of rubble at the farm.

“We were initially contacted by a member of the public and discovered firearms and ammunition in the field adjacent to the farm.

“It is a significant amount of firearms and a significant find. People may be concerned by the large police presence in the area but they should be reassured by the fact that these weapons have been recovered and are now in the possession of the police.

“Our priority is to establish where these firearms came from and who left them here.”

Mr Downie said police had “no positive line of inquiry at the moment”.

He added: “Extensive inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should get in touch with police as soon as possible.”

Residents in nearby Woodvale Avenue were shocked that guns had been found so near their homes.

Former postal worker John Ramsay, 55, said: “We saw the forensic suits going in and thought, ‘What on earth has happened?’

“People are not too worried as the guns are with the police, but it’s a totally astonishing thing to happen in a place like Bearsden.”

Mary Donaldson, who lives in a neighbouring house, said she got home at 9pm on Thursday to find police tape had been put up.

She said: “I asked what was happening and they said there was an incident at the farm.

“We never, ever, see any kind of incidents like that here – or the number of police.”

The site used to be a working dairy farm until the owner died about 10 years ago. The current owners are believed to live in Canada and the farmhouse is rented out.
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Posted: Apr 15 2012, 10:06 AM


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Women jailed for managing brothel at Belfast apartment
BBC News, April 14, 2012

Two women who admitted managing a brothel at a Belfast apartment block have been jailed for two months.

Natacha Pociana, 32, a qualified lawyer from Brazil, and Sofia Matas, 35, originally from Portugal, were arrested at Victoria Place on Thursday.

Belfast Magistrates' Court was told both women, of no fixed abode, had admitted during police questioning they were working as prostitutes.

Bail was refused to an Antrim man who appeared in court alongside the women.

Robert James Weir, 53, of Durnish Road, was charged with controlling the two women's prostitution for gain, managing a brothel and possessing criminal property.

A detective constable told the court he believed prostitution was the accused's "full-time occupation", and said he had a previous conviction for similar offences.

He was remanded in custody.
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Posted: Apr 16 2012, 03:25 PM


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£2m heroin bust in Nottingham street
This Is Nottingham, April 26, 2012

TWO men have been jailed after they were caught exchanging drugs worth more than £2m in a Nottingham street.

Officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency swooped on the pair's cars in Burford Road, Forest Fields, on October 17 last year after monitoring their phone calls.

Shehryar Liaquat and Tariq Mehmood were found to be transferring a large holdall full of heroin and amphetamine between their vehicles.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that the men arrived separately in their cars and parked close together in the street.

Liaquat, a taxi driver, of Noel Street, Hyson Green, grabbed the holdall from the rear of his taxi and got into Mehmood's car to deliver 15 packages of drugs.

Officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency, a national police unit that deals with the most serious crime, watched the exchange and then moved in.

Six unmarked police cars blocked the road as the men were arrested.

In court, both admitted conspiracy to supply 11 packages of heroin, worth £1.4m on the streets, and four packages of amphetamine, worth £575,000.

Judge Tony Mitchell jailed Liaquat, 30, for four years.

Mehmood, 43, of Cotterills Lane, Stechford, Birmingham, received four years and ten months.

The judge told them: "Both of you did this out of greed.

"Both of you were prepared to participate for financial reward in a very high-risk strategy, that of moving drugs from one place to another; part of the necessary chain that enables the poor addict on the street to receive his drug and the drug baron somewhere else to live their lifestyle of a multi-billionaire."

The court heard that the pair had both been in telephone contact with other people who were directing their movements that day.

Barrister Martin Elwick said, in mitigation for Liaquat, that this was a one-off.

"This was an act completely out of character for a few hundred pounds and he will now pay an extremely heavy price for it."

Mehmood said he had met someone in Holland who said he could make quick money if he carried the drugs.

He stood to make £1,000, the court heard.

Gregor Purcell said, in mitigation: "Tariq Mehmood got a call on October 17 and got a text message with a postcode and that phone was directing him to collect the drugs."

He was going to take the drugs to Birmingham, deliver them and receive his payment, Mr Purcell said.

"The price he will pay for a quick buck is huge."
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Posted: Apr 17 2012, 09:43 AM


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Wiltshire council to vote on 'loan shark' crackdown team
BBC News, April 17, 2012

A specialist team may be brought in to crack down on Wiltshire's loan sharks.

The council is expected to approve a plan later to enlist the Illegal Money Lending Team from Birmingham.

The team, run by Birmingham City Council, was set up in 2004 and gives advice and assistance to those affected by loan sharks.

Judith Hyble, director of Wiltshire's Credit Unions, said the county's problem was not something "a crack team would be too bothered about".

"The registered social landlords do tell me that there are the odd incidents out in the country in Wiltshire but on a very local scale," she said.

"Any problem that there is is going to be mainly in Swindon and possibly in somewhere like Trowbridge - certainly there are some very relatively poor places in Salisbury where it could be going on."

But Steve Clover, head of consumer protection at Wiltshire Council, said in the last year the council had received "over a dozen complaints about alleged illegal money lending".

"The actual numbers in Wiltshire - we're not clear about," he said.

"We don't quite know the scale of the problem but that's the beauty of bringing in the national team and the national helpline is that hopefully it will drive this trade out into the open and we can tackle them."
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Posted: Apr 18 2012, 11:58 AM


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Man named in Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll murder trial 'is in Spain'
BBC News, April 18, 2012

The Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll murder trial has heard that one of the men alleged by the accused to be involved in the gangland figure's death is in Spain.

Karen O'Donnell, 40, from Cumbernauld, told the High Court in Glasgow her cousin William Paterson said he was going to Spain in December 2009.

Mr Paterson is one of eight people accused by Ross Monaghan of involvement in Mr Carroll's death in January 2010.

Mr Monaghan, 30, denies murder in the Asda car park in Robroyston, Glasgow.

He has lodged a special defence of incrimination against eight men, including Mr Paterson.

Frequent visitor

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, asked Mrs O'Donnell when she last saw Mr Paterson, who she knows as Billy.

She told the jury it had been a week after her son's engagement party, which took place after the shooting of Mr Carroll.

Mrs O'Donnell said Mr Paterson was a frequent visitor to her home and often phoned and texted her.

Mr McSporran asked if she knew where he was, to which Mrs O'Donnell replied: "I believe he's in Spain to work in bars."

She said he had told the family he was going to Spain in December 2009.

Mrs O'Donnell was asked if Mr Paterson had ever gone abroad before, and replied that he had gone to Australia for a year in 2002.

Murder charge

The prosecutor asked if it was "obvious" that Mr Paterson had "fled the country to stay away for as long as possible".

Mrs O'Donnell replied: "No, not in my opinion."

She said she did not know when Mr Patterson was expected to return, and said she was aware that police were looking for him in connection with a charge of murder.

The court later heard from Mr Monaghan's partner, Jade McLaughlan.

The 26-year-old graduate, who is training to be a teacher, told the court that she was pregnant at the time Mr Monaghan was arrested.

She said that they were in bed in Mr Monaghan's home in Penilee, Glasgow, on 30 July last year when they were wakened by the sound of shouting.

Ms McLaughlan said: "We were both in bed and got wakened up with police shouting Ross's name. They shouted for Ross to come downstairs."

The court was told she was allowed to take some clothes down for Mr Monaghan to wear and was then told to go back upstairs.

Ms McLaughlan said she got dressed and was taken to an unmarked police car where she remained for 45 minutes while a search of the house was carried out by 15 armed police officers.

She said: "I had no idea why they had arrested Ross. They explained I was there because firearms officers were carrying out a search of the property.

'Very weird'

"They then said they would have to leave as they didn't have the correct warrant. At 9.30am they came back with another warrant and read it to me. I've played it over in my mind a number of times. It was very weird."

The court heard that police told Ms McLaughlan, who has a rare condition called PXE which can affect the heart, that it would be better if she was not in the house while it was searched.

Ms McLaughlan was asked if she had been aware of the murder of Mr Carroll in January 2010 and replied: "No, nothing whatsoever."

Mr McSporran then asked: "Did you pay much heed to the news," and she replied: "To be honest no."

She was then shown a black Stone Island waterproof bomber jacket seized from the house and said it belonged to Mr Monaghan.

Defence QC Derek Ogg said that witnesses had identified clothing worn by the gunmen as being a thigh-length canvas jacket or a fleece or a puffa jacket and asked Ms McLaughlin if the bomber jacket could be described in this way and she said: "No."

The jury was told that 15 firearms police and eight detectives were in the house and none of them was wearing gloves, masks or forensic white overalls.

She was asked by Mr Ogg if the day of the shooting - 13 January 2010 - had any significance for her and she replied: "That day has just got no significance for me."

Nothing unusual

Ms McLaughlan said that she had noticed nothing unusual about Mr Monaghan from the middle of January to February 2010.

It is alleged that while masked and acting with others, Mr Monaghan murdered 29-year-old Mr Carroll by repeatedly discharging loaded handguns at him, shooting him on the head and body.

Mr Monaghan is accused of - while acting with others - attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of a revolver, pistol and ammunition within undergrowth in Coatbridge and Airdrie, both North Lanarkshire.

It is also claimed a car - bearing false number plates YF 55 EZZ - was set on fire.

Mr Monaghan also faces a number of firearms charges.

He denies all the charges against him and has lodged a special defence of incrimination against eight people.

The trial, before judge Lord Brailsford, continues.
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Posted: Apr 19 2012, 03:09 PM


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Cage-fighting loan shark Giovanni Caruso jailed
BBC News, April 19, 2012

A cage-fighting loan shark from Stoke-on-Trent who was earning around £3,000 a week has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Giovanni Caruso, 41, of Foley Street, was found guilty of illegal money lending, blackmail, money laundering and perverting the course of justice.

Caruso was arrested after police raided his house in November 2010.

He was convicted at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after three victims agreed to give evidence against him.

Caruso told victims he would "rearrange their face", "break their legs" and "chuck acid into their face so no-one would recognise them again", the court heard.

On a number of occasions he told a female victim she should work as an escort to pay of the debts, telling her he could drive her a long way from Stoke to do so.

'Brave' witnesses

Ben Mills, prosecuting, told the court unemployed Caruso loaned money at a rate of £50 interest for every £100 borrowed to begin with, but increased the interest amount once people had taken out their loan.

He gave no paperwork and was unclear with borrowers as to the terms of the loan, and how long they will be paying.

He told one victim to just to keep paying and he would tell him when to stop.

Caruso's own records, kept on his mobile phone, revealed he was lending money illegally to 88 people and receiving payments of around £3,000 each week, over an 18-month period.

Cath Williams, from the Illegal Money Lending Team, said most of Caruso's victims were friends with him initially, but grew frightened of him as he made threats to them and their family members.

She said: "We had three people brave enough to go to court and we're very grateful to those who do put their head above the parapet.

"We completely understand how frightening it is... especially if there is intimidation involved."
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Junior
Posted: Apr 20 2012, 07:39 AM


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Customs man 'helped drug barons trick judge'
BBC News, April 20, 2012

A customs officer helped two "famous" drug barons secure massive reductions in their jail terms based on bogus information, a court has heard.

John Haase and Paul Bennett tipped off police about 150 guns supposedly hidden around the UK between 1993 and 1995.

Kingston Crown Court was told that Paul Cook, a senior customs officer, vouched for the information which was provided.

Mr Cook, 60, denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and a charge of misconduct in public office.

The court heard Mr Cook was an informant handler for Liverpool drug smuggler Haase and his nephew, Bennett.

Gibson Grenfell, QC, prosecuting, said the pair were "major criminals" who were waiting to be sentenced for a large-scale scheme to import heroin.

He said Haase and Bennett, while in custody awaiting trial, pretended to provide information about guns in the Liverpool, Manchester and North Wales areas.

But in fact they had persuaded accomplices on the outside to buy guns and then hide them in pre-arranged places so Haase and Bennett could curry favour with the authorities. One gun left near the ferry terminal at Holyhead in north Wales was designed to incriminate the IRA.

He said some detectives started to doubt the authenticity of the information.

Mr Grenfell said Mr Cook told the judge at their 1995 trial for drug smuggling the pair were "genuine and valuable informants" and he massively reduced the 18-year sentences both were given.

He said Mr Cook was instrumental in this "gross deception of the judge" by placing before him a document "painting a very favourable picture of the men, which he knew didn't tell the truth".

Mr Grenfell said Mr Cook was not motivated by financial gain but simply hoped to obtain useful information about crime, albeit unlawfully.

"He knew the thing had been set up by Haase and Bennett and had known it for some time," claimed Mr Grenfell.

He said Mr Cook did obtain some genuine information about the drug trade through working with the criminals but it was of little worth.

Mr Grenfell said: "He may have thought he was acting in a noble cause and that it didn't matter if he helped the two criminals in an unlawful way if he got a lot of information out of them, but what he did was act dishonestly and against the law."

The trial, which is due to last 12 weeks, continues.
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Posted: Apr 20 2012, 07:40 AM


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Cannabis and fake currency seized in Armagh
BBC News, April 20, 2012

More than 200 cannabis plants, and counterfeit currency, have been seized by police in Armagh.

The discovery was made at Battleford Road in the city on Thursday during searches involving detectives from the organised crime branch.

Customs officers were brought in to examine a suspected fuel laundering plant at the premises.

A 28-year-old man was arrested but later released. Police have appealed for information.

A police spokeswoman said people who own or rent property should "check their premises regularly and contact police if they become aware of any suspicious or untoward activity".
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Junior
Posted: Apr 21 2012, 02:58 PM


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Police had '99 suspects' over murder of Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll
BBC News, April 20, 2012

The Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll murder trial has heard how police compiled a list of 99 potential suspects after the Glasgow gangland figure was shot dead.

The names, which included the Lyons, McGovern and Daniels families, were read out at the High Court in Glasgow.

The list, compiled by a police intelligence unit, was revealed at the trial of 30-year-old Ross Monaghan.

He denies murdering Mr Carroll at the Asda car park in Robroyston, Glasgow, on 13 January 2010.

Mr Monaghan's name was not on the list which was read out by defence QC Derek Ogg to the jury of 10 men and five women.

Names recognised

Det Sgt David Moran, of Strathclyde Police, who worked on the murder investigation for a year, was asked if he knew that the list had been compiled.

Mr Ogg said: "The Crown are required to disclose to me information which may be of interest. The Crown has given a list of names to me as potential suspects of the murder of the deceased," and Mr Moran replied: "Yes."

Mr Ogg then said: "Police intelligence at Strathclyde Police produced a list of potential suspects," and Det Sgt Moran replied: "I know."

He then read out the names and asked Mr Moran: "Do you recognise these names," and he replied: "A large number of them."

The QC added: "Kevin Gerbil Carroll was not short of an enemy or two - some of whom were well capable of shooting him to death," and Mr Moran said: "That is the case."

Det Sgt Moran was then asked if Mr Carroll operated at a high level in the world of organised crime and asked to answer yes or no.

The detective replied: "I don't feel able to give a yea or no answer."

Judge Lord Brailsford then asked Mr Ogg how many names he had read out and was told "Ninety nine."

Earlier in his evidence Mr Moran told advocate depute, Iain McSporran, prosecuting, that he was involved in the investigation from the first day and spent about a year working on it.

He was asked about the finding of two guns behind Coatbridge Library 13 days after Mr Carroll was shot to death.

Det Sgt Moran was asked by Mr McSporran: "Was this finding of huge significance", and replied: "It was massive."

Mr McSporran then said that ballistics experts had found that these were the two guns used by Mr Carroll's killers and Mr Moran replied: "Yes."

The jury heard that William Paterson - one of the men blamed by Mr Monaghan for involvement in the shooting - took a one way ticket from Glasgow to Malaga on 23 January 2010.

Mr McSporran asked the detective: "There is a European arrest warrant in force for William Paterson," and he replied: "Yes, sir, there is."

The prosecutor added: "He left the country and is not known to have been back," and Mr Moran told him: "I can confirm that."

Mr McSporran then said: "Are you focusing on finding him?" and Det Sgt Moran replied: "The investigation at present solely centres on tracing William Paterson."

It is alleged that while masked and acting with others, Mr Monaghan murdered Mr Carroll by repeatedly discharging loaded handguns at him, shooting him on the head and body.

He is further accused of, while acting with others, attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of a revolver, pistol and ammunition within undergrowth in Coatbridge and Airdrie, both Lanarkshire.

It is also claimed a car - bearing false number plates YF 55 EZZ - was set on fire.

Mr Monaghan also faces a number of firearms charges.

He denies all the charges against him and has lodged a special defence of incrimination against eight men.

The trial before judge Lord Brailsford continues.
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Junior
Posted: Apr 24 2012, 12:41 AM


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Gang jailed for total of 37 years over Keyworth kidnap
This Is Nottingham, Monday, April 23, 2012

FOUR men have been jailed for kidnapping a cash and carry manager in Keyworth and robbing the premises where he worked.

They used the victim to get inside the Booker cash and carry in Grantham on November 3, 2010.

At Nottingham Crown Court on Friday they were sentenced to a total of 37 years.

Nathan Pilsbury, Andra Alfred Hoyland, Richard Loveridge, and Martin McBrien, all from Northamptonshire, were jailed for a total of 37 years at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday (details of sentences in picture captions).

The 54-year-old victim was forced out of his car in Keyworth, at about 6.10pm on Wednesday, November 3 2010.

He was threatened with a knife and made to hand over his car keys before being bound and bundled into the back of his own vehicle. He was then forced to open the premises to allow the offenders access.

The gang stole cash and cigarettes during the robbery, and then dumped the victim in a field at Bottesford where he managed to free himself from the tape which bound his ankles together. He then flagged down a passing lorry on the A52.

Notts Police examined CCTV footage and trawled through phone records to link together the four men, who were part of an organised crime group from Northampton.

In addition to Pilsbury, Hoyland, Loveridge, and McBrien a fifth person was also sentenced for their part in incident.

Sonia Drury, 31, of Edgerley Drain Road, Peterborough, had pleaded guilty to assisting in the commission of robbery.

Drury was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday 16 February 2012 when she was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, a one-year supervision order and ordered to complete 60 hours unpaid work.

Said Inspector Andy Roberts: "This was clearly a planned and co-ordinated operation and these men put their victim through a terrifying ordeal in order to gain entry to the cash and carry.

"Although the manager was physically unharmed in the incident, the trauma of what happened has had a huge psychological impact."

"The length of the sentence reflects the gravity of the crimes and I hope that it will bring some long awaited closure to the victim."
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Junior
Posted: Apr 24 2012, 12:43 AM


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Nottingham murder probe after shooting of teenager in Sherwood
This Is Nottingham, Monday, April 23, 2012

POLICE have launched a murder inquiry after the shooting of a teenager in the city.

Malakai McKenzie, 19, died at the Queen's Medical Centre following an incident outside the Hubb pub in Hucknall Road, Sherwood, in the early hours of Saturday.

Police – who were called out after reports of a gun being fired at 3.30am – believe he had been involved in an incident in the car park of the pub, which had been holding a party at the time.

It is the first fatal shooting in the city since August 2010.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Tony Heydon, said: "The family of Mr McKenzie are devastated by his shocking and tragic death and are being supported by a family liaison officer."

One resident, who lives near the pub, said: "I think it's a huge tragedy. It's terrible for someone to die so young, and my sympathies are with the family at the moment."

It is believed Mr McKenzie was shot in the car park. He was not found injured at the scene, but was taken to the QMC by members of the public a short time later.

He died in hospital on Saturday afternoon.

A post mortem yesterday established that he died of a gunshot wound.

He is believed to have connections to the Hyson Green area.

Yesterday, around 150 people attended a meeting at the Hyson Green Youth Club to discuss the incident.

A number of tributes to Mr McKenzie have already been posted on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

One said: "Such a gentleman and a genuine nice guy, rest in peace."

City MP Chris Leslie said: "It's important the police take a rapid response to this concerning incident."
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Junior
Posted: Apr 24 2012, 02:29 PM


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More than 250 officers arrest 38 in drugs operation
BBC News, April 24, 2012

Police have arrested 38 people in an operation across five counties into the supply of Class A drugs.

More than 250 officers took part in the early-morning raids in Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

Searches were also carried out at the premises and controlled drugs, a firearm and vehicles were seized.

The operation follows raids and arrests in Northamptonshire and Hampshire last year, in connection with the same case.

Northamptonshire Police said its officers had arrested 10 people, while nine people were held in Hampshire.

Cambridgeshire Police said its officers had arrested 19 people in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.
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Junior
Posted: Apr 26 2012, 11:17 AM


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£100k cannabis farm discovered at Lady Bay house
This Is Nottingham, Thursday, April 26, 2012

POLICE said internet sites offering growing tips could be fuelling a crop of cannabis farms after uncovering the latest stash of the drug.

Almost 100 plants with a final total street value of around £100,000 were found in a dawn raid on a house in Trent Boulevard, Lady Bay, yesterday.

Officers found 29 mature plants locked in a room at the top of the three-storey house.

Another 68 older and early-stage plants were discovered in a second growing room and a drying room hidden behind a plasterboard wall in the cellar.

Sergeant Becky Hodgman, of West Bridgford Police Station, said: "It's happening all over the country now.

"On the internet you can find everything you need to know about how to set up and where to get the equipment from.

"If the public told us everything they knew then criminals wouldn't be able to function, so we encourage people to come forward with any information."

Police dismantled the farm after yesterday's raid, which followed a tip-off from a member of the public.

No-one was in the house at the time and no arrests have been made.

A nearby resident, who asked not to be named, said: "I'm very surprised. You wouldn't think it would happen on this street because it seems so quiet.

"You would have thought that someone would have noticed but it does look just like a normal house from the outside."
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Junior
Posted: Apr 27 2012, 04:47 PM


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Cumbria loan shark Paul Gilpin ordered to pay £50,000
BBC News, April 27, 2012

A loan shark who made more than £250,000 through illegal loans has been told to pay £50,000 or face prison.

Paul Gilpin, 39, of Egremont, Cumbria, illegally lent more than 40 people money, charging them exorbitant fees.

In once case he lent £700 and charged a £400 fee while in another he charged £10 on a £30 loan.

The order to pay the money follows a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Carlisle Crown Court.

Prosecutors explained during the initial trial that Gilpin had made about £256,000 from his illegal money lending business in Thorny Road over a period of six years.

Gilpin pleaded guilty to illegal money lending and money laundering in November and was given two nine-month custodial sentences, suspended for 24 months, as well as 250 hours' community service.

No witnesses testified against him, and he was convicted following a confession after police discovered an informal accounts book detailing income from his illegal enterprise.

'Stark warning'

His assets included the value of his home, £3,850 in cash which had been seized by the investigations team and around £9,000 in bank accounts.

Angela Jones, from Cumbria County Council trading standards, said the ruling was "great news" and would hopefully serve as a "stark warning" to others.

Sarah-Jane Lynch, a spokeswoman for the trading standards' illegal money lending team, said part of the cash would be reinvested into the community where Gilpin operated.

She said it was "very, very rare" that victims received a portion of any money recouped under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In this case, Ms Lynch said, insufficient records made it difficult to identify which victims had lost specific amounts of money, meaning it was highly unlikely any would receive compensation.
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