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Detectives and police staff receive Judge’s commendation for “county lines” investigation

Last modified: 15 January 2019 at 05:11pm

Detectives and police staff from Harrogate CID have been presented with a Judge’s Commendation for their work that saw three violent “county lines” drug dealers jailed for over 50 years.

On 19 October 2018, Mohamed Abdi, Adirahman Shire, and Julian Soares, were jailed at Leeds Crown Court for supplying cocaine and causing grievous bodily harm. After passing sentence, His Honour, Mr Justice Martin Spencer QC, commended the investigation team for the comprehensive way in which the case was brought to court.

Detective Constable Victoria Lawson, Detective Sergeant Alan Browne, Chief Constable Lisa Winward, Detective Constable Sam Harding, Police Staff Investigator Frank Penders

Detective Sergeant Alan Browne, Detective Constables Victoria Lawson and Sam Harding, and Police Staff Investigator, Frank Penders, were presented with their commendation by Chief Constable Lisa Winward at Harrogate police station on 15 January 2019. Three other members of staff also received a commendation for their work.

Chief Constable Winward said: “I’m extremely proud of the team and the fact that their work has been acknowledged by the court.

“I know the investigation was long and complex and the crimes committed by the trio brought fear and concern to the local community.

“Their tenacity has taken three dangerous people off the streets for a long time and I hope local people are reassured that those responsible for the violence on that night are now behind bars.”

Mohamed Abdi, 26, of Tower Street, Leicester, Adirahman Shire, 22, of Oak Street, Leicester, and Julian Soares, 23, of Brixton, London, were found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to supply cocaine following a two-week trial at Leeds Crown Court that concluded on 16 October 2018. Abdi pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to supply cocaine charge midway through the trial. Soares was also found guilty of administering a noxious substance and conspiracy to supply heroin.

Soares received sentences totalling 29 years including two concurrent sentences of eight years for conspiracies to supply cocaine and heroin, 12 years for wounding and one year for administering a noxious substance, meaning he will serve 20 years in prison. Shire was jailed for 15 years and Abdi for 14 years and nine months.

The charge of wounding with intent related to an attack at a property on Skipton Road when a 38-year-old man from Leeds was stabbed.

The charge of administering a noxious substance related to an attack on Kings Road when a 37-year-old man from Harrogate had a corrosive liquid thrown in his face.

At around 11.20pm on 20 October 2017, North Yorkshire Police were called to Bilton Working Men’s Club where a man sought refuge after the liquid was sprayed in his face when he was approached by Soares on Kings Road, in the mistaken belief that he was a rival drug dealer.

On arrival at the scene, officers also found a man nearby with stab wounds who was later identified as one of the defendants in the case, Mohamed Abdi, who had suffered a punctured lung during the incident at Skipton Road. He was taken to Leeds General Hospital for treatment to his injuries and told police he couldn’t remember what had happened.

Around ten minutes later, police received another call, this time from nearby Unity Grove, reporting that two men were injured in an alleyway, one of them seriously, and was asking for help.
On arrival, officers found the 38-year-old man from Leeds who had sustained 12 stab wounds to his body resulting in a collapsed lung and a serious laceration to his ankle that required extensive surgery. A second victim, who has subsequently been jailed for five years for drug dealing, Audley Anthony St Patrick Mascoll, 54, from Leeds, was also stabbed during the incident, however the three defendants were found not guilty of wounding Mr Mascoll.

The court heard how the injured man was attacked by Adbi, Shire and Soares at a property on Skipton Road after the three defendants had established themselves as dealers in Harrogate in the weeks prior to the incident, “cuckooing” at various addresses. Believing him to be a rival dealer on their “turf” they attacked him.

County Lines

County Lines drug dealing is a type of organised crime where criminals from urban areas such as West Yorkshire and Manchester sell drugs in county towns such as Harrogate and Scarborough. Gangs exploit vulnerable people, including children, and force them to sell drugs on their behalf, often using extreme violence. It takes its name from the phone lines used by criminals to communicate between the towns and “advertise” their drugs for sale.

Tackling it remains a priority for North Yorkshire Police with a particular focus on safeguarding anyone who has been groomed or threatened into “working” for the perpetrators, either to sell drugs or who are forced to give up their home to drug dealers in a practice known as cuckooing.

We have staff permanently dedicated to investigating “county lines” and urge anyone who has any information about suspected drug dealing or has concerns for a young person in their neighbourhood, to contact us.

Drug dealing is often hidden and reporting your suspicions will help build up our intelligence picture and inform our enforcement activity.
Please call North Yorkshire Police on 101 and pass information to the Force Control Room. If you prefer not to speak to the police and wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you or another person is in immediate danger, always call 999.

DO NOT approach anyone you suspect is involved in drug dealing, but call the police.

Spot the signs of ‘cuckooing’

Increased callers at a property
Increase in cars pulling up for short periods of time
Different accents at a property
Increased antisocial behaviour at a property
Not seeing the resident for long periods of time
Unfamiliar vehicles at the property
Windows covered or curtains closed for long periods

Spot the signs of child criminal exploitation

Persistently going missing from school or home and / or being found out of the area;
Unexplained money, clothes, or mobile phones
Excessive receipt of texts / phone calls
Relationships with controlling / older individuals or groups
Leaving home / care without explanation
Suspicion of physical assault / unexplained injuries
Carrying weapons
Significant decline in school results / performance
Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks
Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being

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