FOUR lethal firearms including a high-powered rifle with a 1,000 metre accuracy have been seized by police in raids across Sheffield.
The weapons cache included the specialist Enfield rifle and ammunition, semi-automatic handgun, sawn-off shotgun and .410 shotgun with 20 rounds of ammunition.
Police found the guns in Norfolk Park, Park Hill, Shiregreen and Southey Green in separate operations mounted in their on-going war on guns and gangs in Sheffield. Detectives fear the weapons may have been used on the city’s streets if they had not been seized.
Sheffield has had four gang-related murders in the last four years - three involving guns. Jonathan Matondo, Tarek Chaiboub and James Kamara were all gunned down and Brett Blake was stabbed to death.
Detective Inspector Bob Chapman from South Yorkshire Police’s intelligence department said the Enfield rifle seized in the raids was particularly dangerous.
It has a 1,000 metre accuracy firing capability and was found in a property with ammunition ready to load into it.
The weapons were all seized by officers in pre-planned operations led by the city’s ‘Threat, Risk and Harm Team’ which specialises in tackling organised crime, gangs and guns.
Det Insp Chapman said once intelligence is received police act quickly to intercept weapons before they have time to be used on Sheffield streets.
“The team was set up to investigate organised crime and gang-related activity through enforcement as well as detective work. Its remit is to disrupt organised crime and gangs by acting quickly on intelligence received.”
He said arrests have been made in relation to the recovery of the firearms and suspects have been bailed pending further enquiries.
Jonathan Matondo, aged 16, was shot dead close to a children’s playground in Burngreave in October 2007 in what police believe was a feud between the warring S3 and S4 postcode gangs in Burngreave and Pitsmoor but his killer has never been caught.
Brett Blake, 23, was stabbed to death the following June in another gang-related attack in a city centre nightclub.
Two fellow members of the S3 gang he was part of were jailed for life over his murder.
And 17-year-old Tarek Chaiboub was shot dead at city barbers shop in another S3-related feud, when fellow members accused him of passing on information which led to a near-fatal attack on one of their cousins.
Four S3 gang members were each jailed for life over the gun attack.
The most recent gang-related murder was of 22-year-old James Kamara, who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Broomhall in 2009. His killer is still walking free but police believe the death was part of an inner-city gang feud.
n Anyone with information about gun and gang activity should call South Yorkshire Police on 0114 220 2020 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.