£125m Sheffield drugs gang nailed

CRIME: Crime scene.
CRIME: Crime scene.
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Five members of a Sheffield drugs gang will be jailed today - after masterminding a £125 million heroin and cocaine production plot from a posh apartment in one of the city’s leafiest suburbs.

The men were convicted of offences relating to a Class A drug-production ring – operating from a plush rented flat in affluent Endcliffe.

Police revealed they were tipped off thanks to an ‘observant and concerned’ local resident who raised the alarm.

And, when officers searched the flat in Endcliffe Crescent, they found kilos of heroin and cocaine with a street value of around £300,000, plus cutting agents and equipment to support a drugs preparation factory.

Further investigations revealed the machines had started working in April 2010 and, based on the number of hours they ran each day, would have produced Class A drugs with a street value of around £125 million over the five months the machinery operated in the flat.

The flat was rented by 26-year-old Mohammed Faizan.

Neighbours told police that within weeks of him moving in they began hearing ‘strange, industrial-type’ noises, and regularly saw several Asian men coming and going.

When police raided the property in September 2010, Mohammed Zulficar, 33, was there and, shortly afterwards, Adnan Lal, 27, arrived.

Further investigations led police to two more members of the group – Mohammed Ishaq, 39, and Haidar Ali, 25.

A ‘long and complex’ two-year police investigation followed, and the five men were arrested in April 2012. All were charged with conspiracy to produce and supply Class A drugs.

All were found guilty of both charges at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday afternoon.

Three of the men are from Fir Vale in Sheffield - Faizan, of Whiteways Close; Ali, of Earl Marshal Road; and Lal, of Crabtree Close.

They will be sentenced this afternoon alongside Ishaq, of Main Street in Mexborough, and Zulficar, of Cranworth Place in Eastwood, Rotherham.

Detective Constable Andrew Shaw, the officer who led the investigation, said: “This was a sophisticated operation, which we were able to stop thanks to the information from an observant and concerned local resident.

“This is a prime example of the community and the police working together in difficult times.

“Drugs are a blight on decent communities and can have disastrous effects on lives.

“I would always encourage the public to tell us what’s happening in their communities, and we will take action wherever possible.

“This has been a long and complex investigation by South Yorkshire Police and I am delighted these men will now be brought to justice.”