Gang accused of robbing Burnley Spar shop: court latest

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THE trial of four men charged with conspiracy to rob a Spar store in Burnley is continuing.

The robbery, which took place on September 1st, 2009, at Melville Street Spar resulted in charges being brought against six men.

Burnley men Hassan Reza (23), of Gordon Street, Owess Khan (22), of Fifth Avenue, Wajid Khan (19), of Kent Street, and Mohammed Siddique Ghafaar (18), of Merton Street, have all denied conspiracy.

On its third day, the trial heard from Martin Lowe, an intelligence analyst for the serious and organised crime unit at Lancashire Police.

Mr Lowe worked as part of a team to produce a report on the mobile phone traffic of text messages and phone calls alleged to have taken place between the defendants.

The jury heard a number of mobile phones belonging to the defendants were seized by police following the robberies.

Barrister Mr Howard (defending Owess Khan) said his client disputed the attribution of a number given to him.

Cross-examining Mr Lowe, the defence barrister said: “You cast the net far and wide to find the attribution.

“However, the result of your inquiry as to whether this number was a contract or pay-as-you-go is not on your report.

“Inquiries have revealed it is a contract phone listed to a Mr Ali Khan.”

The case centres around two armed robberies committed on the same day – the first at Totesport bookmakers in Bury, which resulted in the theft of £120 and later at Melville Street Spar and the theft of £500.

Gulhassan Khan (23), of Burnley Road, Colne, has already pleaded guilty to the charge and admitted carrying a shotgun into the shop.

A second man, Mohammed Usman Khan (22), of Kent Street, Burnley, insisted he only carried out the raid “under duress”, and will be tried separately at Burnley Crown Court on July 27th.

The trial continues.