As South Yorkshire Police work to take firearms off our streets, pictured here are the criminals who were jailed for gun crime in 2023.
The force set up an armed crime team back in 2020 in response to what was described as a 'notable increase' in shootings taking place in South Yorkshire.
Data released in July 2023 showed there had been a shocking 38 per cent rise in the number of offences recorded over the last year.
In total, the number of firearm offences recorded by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) jumped from 242 in the year to March 2022, to 334 in the year ending March 2023.
South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said firearm offences were therefore the crime area for which he had 'the most concern'.
"This is an increase from 242 offences to 334. This is higher than the 22 per cent increase in the Yorkshire and Humberside region and much higher than the figure for England and Wales as a whole at 13 per cent.
This is concerning and illustrates the importance of the work that the police Armed Crime Team is doing," said Dr Billings.
Possession of a firearm carries a minimum mandatory sentence of five years.
Each of the defendants have been jailed during hearings held at Sheffield Crown Court throughout 2023, after being convicted of offences relating to gun crime.
To report a crime, call South Yorkshire Polioce on 101.
Call 999 in an emergency.
1. The 21 men pictured here have all been jailed for firearm offences during Sheffield Crown Court hearing held over the last year
Top row, left to right: Akaash Iqbal; Awais Ahmed; Qamar Nain; Zaheer Ahmed; Mohammed Maroof and Sibusiso Moyo;Christopher Gill. Middle row, left to right; Jay Benton; Mohammed Ibrar; James Ridgley; Saleh Mordi; Luke Duncan and Gareth Houldon; John Smedley. Bottom row, left to right: Mark Smith; James Roberts; Karl Mangham; Richard Riley; Steven Trevor Nelson; Taylor Blackburn and Jahmaine Watson
2. Akaash Iqbal; Zaheer Ahmed; Mohammed Maroof; Awais Ahmed; Qamar Nain: Gang linked to shootings on homes, dog and cars in Sheffield in string of attacks jailed for 25 years total
Akaash Iqbal; Zaheer Ahmed; Mohammed Maroof; Awais Ahmed; Qamar Nain: Gang linked to shootings on homes, dog and cars in Sheffield in string of attacks jailed for 25 years total Five Sheffield gang members responsible for arming gunmen behind a string of shootings in Sheffield have been jailed for a total of 25 years. Appearing at Sheffield Crown Court in August 2023, the defendants were each sentenced for offences relating to a number of shootings in the city, including one where a dog was critically injured and had to be put down. The first shooting was reported in July 2020, when police were called to Abbeydale Road after numerous calls reporting shots being fired. There, they found a dog had suffered serious gunshot injuries. Its injuries were sadly unsurvivable and the dog had to be put down. In August 2020, officers recovered a viable, loaded handgun that had been discarded in a bush on Lumley Street in Sheffield. Later that month, officers received reports that a house on Madehurst Gardens had been shot at, causing damage to the windows. Defendants are pictured clockwise from left: Akaash Iqbal; Zaheer Ahmed; Mohammed Maroof; Awais Ahmed; Qamar Nain. Mohammed Maroof, 27, of HMP Lindholme, was sentenced to a further 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of ammunition without a certificate. He is already serving a prison sentence after being convicted of possession of a prohibited firearm in earlier legal proceedings, in relation to the handgun that was recovered in August 2020. Awais Ahmed, 23, of HMP Marshgate, was sentenced to five years in prison after entering a guilty plea to possession of a prohibited firearm. Zaheer Ahmed, 26, of Derby Street, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of ammunition without a certificate in an earlier hearing. He was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. A fourth defendant, Qamar Nain, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm and one count of possession of ammunition when prohibited. Nain, of St Stephen’s Road, Rotherham, was sentenced to six years in prison. A fifth man, 24-year-old Akaash Iqbal, was also sentenced in court. In an earlier court hearing, Iqbal, of Fraser Road, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of ammunition without a certificate and possession with intent to supply a Class B drug (cannabis). He was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison.
3. Gareth Houldon, Luke Duncan, John Smedley, James Roberts and Mark Smith: 'Revenge' shooting on Sheffield estate while gunman's children were yards away
Defendants Gareth Houldon, Luke Duncan, John Smedley, James Roberts and Mark Smith have all admitted to criminal offences relating to the violent attack, which was carried out in a car port connected to Houldon’s home on Beaumont Mews, Manor, on August 8, 2022, while Houlden’s partner and children were present. During hearings held at Sheffield Crown Court in June 2023, Prosecutor, Ian West, said the victim – the complainant – who was then aged 45, was ‘persuaded’ to go to Houlden’s home by Smedley and Smith. “The first violence happens off camera, Roberts punches the complainant forcefully, and the complainant stumbles backwards,” Mr West said, adding: “Houlden then moves towards the complainant, and shoots him in the leg. The court heard how after Houldon carried out the shooting, the other defendants proceeded to inflict more violence upon him, as part of a group attack. The defendants all pleaded guilty to the charges they faced at earlier hearings, with Houldon, then aged 44, of Beaumont Mews, Manor, Sheffield, admitting to offences of grievous bodily harm with intent; possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing ammunition and two charges of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, relating to wraps of heroin and crack cocaine found in his carport during a police search carried out in the days following the shooting. 30-year-old Duncan, of Chesterfield Road, Woodseats, Sheffield, also admitted a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent. Smedley, then aged 44, of Manor Park Centre, Manor, Sheffield; Roberts, aged 40, of Rockingham Street, Sheffield city centre and 41-year-old Smith, of Blackstock Road, Hemsworth, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to a charge of affray. Judge Rachael Harrison said immediate custody was ‘unavoidable’ for all five defendants and sentenced Roberts to 19 months in prison; Smith received a 21-month jail sentence; Smedley was sentenced to 25 months’ immediate custody; Duncan was jailed for 52 months while Houldon received a sentence of nine years, five months. The defendants have all been jailed for their involvement in a shooting on the Manor estate, carried out at the home of Gareth Houldon (left) while his children were present. The other defendants pictured are top middle: Luke Duncan; top right: John Smedley; bottom middle: Mark Smith; bottom right: James Roberts
4. Jay Benton: Man jailed over gun and ammo found ditched in garden in Denaby, Doncaster
Jay Benton, 31, of Tickhill Square, Denaby Main, between Rotherham and Doncaster, pleaded guilty on June 13 2023 and was sentenced on June 20 2023 at Sheffield Crown Court to three years for possession of a firearm and three months for possession of the ammunition, which will run concurrently. The court had heard that on October 4, 2021, police recovered a loaded firearm and a magazine containing seven bullets, which had been discarded in a garden at Todmorden Close, also in Denaby Main. A forensic examination later linked Benton to the firearm and ammunition. Det Cons Mark Roostan, said: “I am really pleased with the work our officers have completed around this case which has resulted in a firearm and ammunition being removed from the streets of Doncaster.