A leading detective today pledged to purge Bradford of its Yardie gangsters after deporting 27 suspects in the past 12 months alone.

Detective Chief Super-intendent Andy Brown, who leads a special squad to crack down on the Afro-Caribbean criminals, said he was taking the threat of extreme violence and drug-dealing from Yardies very seriously.

"These arrests show we are determined to rid the streets of drugs and gun crime," he said.

A further 28 suspected Yardies - the Caribbean-based mafia - are currently waiting to be shipped out of the country.

But officers in the anti-Yardie task force fear that some of the criminals being deported are simply jetting back in and starting up their drug and violence operations under new, false identities.

One suspected Jamaican rapist is believed to have been deported four times in five years.

Police chiefs mounted the campaign last April following fears that ruthless Jamaican gangsters - who had previously operated from major cities such as London and Birmingham - were arriving in numbers in West Yorkshire.

Since then, the dedicated 12-strong team of detectives has made nearly 170 arrests across the county, seized 15 firearms including two sub-machine guns and deported 70 criminals back to Jamaica.

Last month, four members of a Bradford Yardie-led cocaine gang were jailed for more than 34 years for bringing hundreds of thousands of pounds into the city.

Its leader, 30-year-old Dennis Samuels, arranged for human 'mules' to fly from Jamaica into Britain with drug-filled packages hidden in their stomachs. When officers toppled the ring, they seized £300,000 of deadly crack cocaine destined for the streets.

The subsequent court case heard how Samuels had returned to Britain having been deported for supplying drugs just three months earlier.

In October last year, Bradford cabbie Mohammed Basharat became the victim of a suspected Yardie revenge 'hit' - simply because he clipped wing mirrors with a Jamaican gangster's car.

The killer walked calmly into the 33-year-old's cab office the next day, blasting him three times with a Brocock gas canister gun converted to fire live ammunition - the Yardie's signature weapon. Police believe the 28-year-old prime suspect has since fled to London.

A spokesman for the anti-Yardie unit said it had already deported 27 criminals from Bradford and 28 more were currently being processed - either awaiting appeals against their expulsion or having been served with official deportation papers.

Some are serving prison sentences for crimes committed in the UK and will be expelled on their release.

Det Chief Supt Brown said: "We want to reassure the public and police officers out on the streets that we are responding strongly to this and further operations are planned targeting criminals involved in gun-related crime."

The Yardies have already established a fearsome reputation in this country for their widespread use of firearms and their willingness to use extreme violence. Their 'business interests' often revolve around the smuggling and dealing of cocaine and its deadly derivative crack. The trade is thought to be worth £6 billion a year nationally.