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Guns and ammo found after swoop on minicab, court told
6:00am Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
A loaded sawn-off shotgun and a bolt action rifle were found when police acting on a tip-off swooped on a minicab they had secretly followed from Bradford to Keighley, a jury heard.
The weapons and additional ammunition were found in a binliner in the passenger footwell of the vehicle which had been tracked from Girlington to the McDonalds restaurant in Keighley where they had been due to be passed on to a third party, a court was told.
Prosecutor Tom Storey told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that armed police had mounted the operation after an informer, Shiraz Ali, had arranged the transfer of the weapons and provided information about it in the hope of being released from prison on bail.
Three men, Ishfaq Ali, 28, of Kensington Street, Toller Lane; Mohammed Amber, 25, of Upper Woodlands Road, Girlington and Mobeen Hussain, 25, of Fairbank Road, Girlington, are on trial after denying charges of possessing a prohibited firearm and having another firearm and ammunition in a public place.
The jury has been told that Shiraz Ali, 31, also of Girlington, who is Ishfaq Ali’s brother, and Umear Hussain, 24, of Preston Place, Halifax, have pleaded guilty to the same offences.
Mr Storey told the court that when police surrounded the minicab as it pulled up outside the McDonalds on December 14 last year they found a black binliner containing a “ready to use” sawn-off double-barrelled shotgun and six cartridges, as well as a bolt action single-barrelled rifle. The guns had been separately wrapped in brown bags and a pillowcase Officers acting on the tip-off had carried out a surveillance operation and had watched a number of men coming and going from an address in Fairbank Road, Girlington, and saw the minicab arrive.
A man got into the cab carrying what the driver later described as a bag that could have been carrying a small Christmas tree. The cab was followed by police who observed the passenger taking lots of phone calls which seemed to be tracking his journey.
Other officers in Girlington had meanwhile seen two other men at the scene disappear down an alleyway and set a black bag on fire. Its remains were later seized by officers.
Since receiving the tip-off, police had been secretly recording calls made by Shiraz Ali to his brother on a prison payphone and on an illicit mobile arranging for the cab journey to happen and, in a kind of code-speak, who to involve, said Mr Storey.
The jury was told that Shiraz Ali had been remanded in custody in Armley Prison for conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and had wanted to get out.
In another of the calls he had also told his wife to tell police “if anything was found that day they should get him bail,” said Mr Storey, who added: “He thought he could make things better for himself.”
The trial continues.