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Eight members of OCG convicted following investigation into shooting in Burnley

Friday, June 17, 2022

Eight members of an organised criminal gang (OCG) have been convicted following an investigation that resulted from a shooting in Burnley last year.

During the incident, which centred around the attempted taxing of a £220,000 cannabis farm in Salus Street on February 4, last year, two people suffered gun shot injuries, one man suffered a serious head wound and vehicles were rammed. A car was later set alight in an attempt to destroy evidence.

We were called at shortly before 12.30am to reports of disorder on Wilton Street in the town where a number of individuals were reportedly attacking a man with weapons.
Shortly afterwards the ambulance service were called to a nearby address to a report of a man with a laceration to the head. The man, 31, was taken to hospital but although his injuries were serious they were not life-threatening.
At just after 1.15am police were then called to a report that a 39-year-old man was being treated at hospital for what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the leg. The injury was not life-threatening.
At 4.30am officers were then called to reports a silver BMW estate car had been found burnt out on Melville Street.

After lengthy enquiries – including other evidence being obtained which linked some of the defendants to the supply of cannabis - nine people were arrested on July 13, 2021 in connection with the investigation, named Operation Callaway.

Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, eight of those individuals were charged and stood trial at Preston Crown Court.

Yesterday (June 16), a jury found five of those individuals guilty of their roles in the conspiracy.

Besim Zeka (30/10/1990), of Burder Street, Oldham - conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B.

Elion Gllava (13/10/95), of Hollins Road, Oldham - conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B.

Ibrahim Beldie (16/11/89), of Hollins Road, Oldham - conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B.

Andon Bita (6/5/75), of Ellen Wilkinson Crescent, Manchester - conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B and conspiracy to possess criminal property.

Mazar Shah (03/01/82), of Alms Hill Road, Cheetham Hill, Manchester – assisting an offender. He pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, which included the arson.

The below individuals pleaded guilty part way through the trial.

Gulam Rauf (12/6/83), of Hartley Avenue, Prestwich - perverting the course of justice, which included the arson.

Murtaza Ahmed (22/11/83), of Berry Street, Brierfield - conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B and conspiracy to possess criminal property.

Andreas Zekaqis (1/5/91), of Acacia Road, Oldham – conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B and conspiracy to possess criminal property.

Det Supt Nick Connaughton, of East Division, said: “The truly appalling violence that took place in the early hours of February 4, 2021, was completely unacceptable. Although an extremely rare occurrence on the streets of Lancashire, it just shows the lengths that OCGs are prepared to go to in order to protect their commodity. That is why we set up Operation Coolant earlier this year, to target these cannabis farms before rival OCGs can get to them and prevent any associated violence. All the individuals charged under Operation Callaway either played key roles on the day in the violence or attempted cover-up; or in the Class B supply conspiracy that led to the cannabis farm being present in Salus Street. I am pleased the jury came to the verdicts they did and that the other defendants admitted their guilt, faced with the overwhelming evidence that we managed to gather in this extremely complex case.”

All eight men will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court later this year.

To report suspicious activity in your area visit https://doitonline.lancashire.police.uk/ or call 101. If a crime is in progress always call 999.


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