Final suspect hunted in police sting operation to catch Bradford drug dealers

HUNTED: The last outstanding Operation Stalebank suspect

JAILED: Ayaz Nabi, who was locked up for six years for drug dealing after being caught during Operation Stalebank

SUCCESS: Detective Inspector Ian Bryar, who has led Operation Stalebank

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

A MAJOR police operation to tackle class A drug dealing in Bradford, which has seen jail sentences of more than 300 years handed out, has one last suspect to track down.

More than 100 street dealers have been put behind bars during Operation Stalebank.

In February, police released a rogues' gallery of ten remaining wanted drug dealers, caught on film during undercover surveillance, as the operation reached its final phase.

Now only one of those suspects is still to be identified and Bradford police have re-released his image in a last bid to trace him.

Operation Stalebank, which has seen officers secretly filming street drug sellers while posing as addicts, has led to 105 dealers being jailed for a total of 328 years for supplying heroin and cocaine and possessing the drugs with intent to supply.

In all, police have made 115 arrests during three phases since Operation Stalebank began in February 2013, resulting in 108 convictions, with three men still to be sentenced.

All those convicted were Bradford men, the vast majority aged between 18 and 30, and almost all pleaded guilty. All but four were jailed, with sentences ranging from 15 months to six years.

Among those receiving a six-year sentence was Ayaz Nabi, 30, of Ashwell Road, Girlington, who was convicted of supplying drugs for a third time.

He was jailed by the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, who has dealt with all the Operation Stalebank cases and described in court the "terrible blight" and "human misery" caused to society by the misuse of class A drugs.

Detective Inspector Ian Bryar, who has led the police investigation, said the man in the image was the only one not identified and questioned by officers.

He said: "Drugs are a blight on the community and have a massive impact on the lives of individuals and communities.

"Stalebank has been a big success by disrupting the supply and distribution of class A drugs, heroin and cocaine, in the Bradford District and resulting in significant sentences for a number of dangerous criminals.

"Members of the public have really got behind this operation and provided us with key information that has enabled us to identify suspects, make arrests and bring people to justice. We were delighted with the public response to our appeal earlier in the year and this is now the only person still outstanding that we want to speak to."

Det Insp Bryar added: "It is an ongoing fight against drugs in Bradford and we are committed to it. But I think that as a result of Operation Stalebank there is less dealing going on and fewer people suffering as a result.

"We need the assistance of the community and I think Stalebank has sent out a message that the police will act on information and will take positive action."

If anyone recognises the suspect, or has any information that could identify him, they can call Detective Constable David Jackson, at Bradford District Police, on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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