Rival drugs gang members jailed after Burnley shooting and cannabis farm war

Eight members of a North West organised crime gang have been sent to prison for more than 80 years following an investigation into a shooting in Burnley.

During the attack, which was centred around the attempted ‘taxing’ – or takeover – of a £220,000 cannabis farm in Salus Street on February 4, 2021, two men were shot.

One of the victims suffered a serious head wound and vehicles were rammed. A car was later set alight in an attempt to destroy evidence.

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Lancashire Police were called shortly before 12.30am to reports of disorder on Wilton Street in the town where a number of individuals were seen attacking a man with weapons.

Eight members of a Manchester-based drugs gang have been jailed for more than 80 years following an investigation into a shooting in Burnley

Shortly afterwards the ambulance service were called to a nearby address where a man was found with a cut to his head.

The man, 31, was taken to hospital and although his injuries were serious they were not life-threatening.

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At just after 1.15am, police were then called to Burnley General Hospital where a 39-year-old man was being treated for 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.

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Police pictures show bullet holes in car windshields, a car set alight in an attempt to destroy evidence, the Salus Street cannabis farm and cars rammed by rival gang members
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Following a two-day sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court, the eight men have been sentenced to jail term ranging from 27 months to 19 and a half years.

A police investigation code named Operation Callaway, found how the Manchester-based organised crime group (‘OCG’) were called upon for help after word got out that a rival Burnley-based OCG was plotting to infiltrate a cannabis factory.

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You can read our full report on the shooting, cannabis farm war and police investigation here.

Eight gang members jailed for a total of nearly 85 years

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The following men were sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Friday (November 11).

They are:

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Besim Zeka (30/10/1990), of Burder Street, Oldham – found guilty of 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. Jailed for 17 years.

Elion Gllava (13/10/95), of Hollins Road, Oldham – found guilty of 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. Jailed for 19 and a half years.

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Ibrahim Beldie (16/11/89), of Hollins Road, Oldham – found guilty of 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. Jailed for 17 years.

Andon Bita (6/5/75), of Ellen Wilkinson Crescent, Manchester – found guilty of 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. Jailed for 17 years.

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Mazar Shah (03/01/82), of Alms Hill Road, Cheetham Hill, Manchester – found guilty of assisting an offender. He pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, which included the arson. Jailed for 3 years.

Gulam Rauf (12/6/83), of Hartley Avenue, Prestwich - perverting the course of justice, which included the arson. Jailed for 27 years.

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Murtaza Ahmed (22/11/83), of Berry Street, Brierfield - conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B and conspiracy to possess criminal property. Jailed for 4 and a half years.

Andreas Zekaqis (1/5/91), of Acacia Road, Oldham – conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B and conspiracy to possess criminal property. Jailed for 4 and a half years.