Exclusive: Seven thugs who terrorised Leeds given city’s first gang injunction

Seven men have been hit with the city’s first gang injunction after becoming involved in a long-running feud which left a trail of destruction and misery.

Today the YEP can exclusively reveal how police secured the so-called ‘gangbo’, which was granted at Bradford County Court in December and is only now being made public.

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Almost 100 crimes, ranging from arson and criminal damage to extortion and kidnap, were linked to the dispute following painstaking work by detectives in Leeds.

The most serious was the attempted murder of a man during a shooting in October 2015.

But it was almost a year earlier that the feud first caught the attention of local neighbourhood police in Beeston, where the vast majority of the offences were committed.

VIDEO: Who has been issued with the gang injunction?

Gang injunction is first secured by police in Leeds

‘Mindless feud’ had significant impact on innocent Leeds community

Officers began an investigation into a number of vehicle fires in the area during December 2014 and January 2015, which were believed to be connected to a dispute between known criminals.

After further incidents occurred and a clearer picture of the wider circumstances was built up, the investigation was passed to Leeds District Serious Organised Crime Unit.

Specialist detectives from that team began comprehensive enquiries to develop a detailed understanding of the context of the incidents and to link them to the main suspects.

They identified 94 offences between March 2014 and June 2016 which were believed to be linked to the feud. Mapping of the locations revealed 87 happened within roughly a square mile of Beeston.

Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said: “The scale and nature of this catalogue of crimes, concentrated in such a small area, caused understandable fear and concern among people living in that community.”

The crimes included 10 violent incidents of robbery, assault and kidnap, and a further 30 offences of public order, threats, intimidation and extortion.

There were a total of 24 arson attacks on vehicles and properties, which caused damage totalling more than £200,000.

A further £100,000 in damage was caused during 22 incidents of criminal damage at various addresses, eight of which were rammed by 4x4 vehicles.

An additional six drug-related offences led to the recovery of £180,000.

While a number of arrests were made and charges brought in relation to some of the incidents, it became clear that a wider approach was needed to tackle the gang-related activity.

Steps were taken to build a case for a gang injunction using legislation set out in the Policing and Crime Act 2009.

The Act allows the police or a local authority to apply to a county court or the High Court for a civil injunction against an individual who has been shown to be involved in gang-related violence or to have encouraged or assisted it.

If the injunction is granted, a range of requirements and restrictions can be placed on that person.

The scale of the incidents linked to the Beeston dispute had impacted not just on police resources, but also on the resources of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

They joined Leeds City Council and Leeds Housing in supporting the police’s application.

West Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, also gave his backing by highlighting how the incidents had impacted on the lives of people in Beeston and on police resources.

The orders secured with their support set out strict conditions on the seven men – and they can be arrested for any breaches.

Chief Supt Money said: “These orders place severe restrictions on the ringleaders of this feud and make them liable to arrest and potential imprisonment for any breaches.

“By publicising the details of the orders, we hope the public will be able to assist us in enforcing their conditions by passing on any information they have, either directly to local officers or anonymously through Crimestoppers.”

The knife recovered by officers. Picture: West Yorkshire Police's Leeds Crime Team, Twitter.

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