- Five years ago, the threat from Jamaican gangsters and
black British-born crack dealers could have been dismissed as a local difficulty
for a handful of inner-city police forces.
- But today, as the most authoritative study into the threat
reveals, Jamaican organised crime groups have infiltrated almost every
part of the country.
- The growth of violent Yardie crime - named after the
Jamaican slang word for back yard - and offences committed by copycat black
British gunmen has been identified as one of the biggest public order threats
facing the police. A confidential report reveals that only seven of 43
forces in England and Wales believe they have yet to encounter "Caribbean"
organised criminals. In Scotland, there are well-established crack dealers
in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
- The report, for the Caribbean gun crime group of the
Association of Chief Police Officers, describes in detail the "alarming
spread" of the Yardies, the techniques they use to avoid detection
and gain a foothold in new territory and their willingness to use firearms.
The study, based on information from police and national intelligence agencies,
defines two categories of "Caribbean crime groups". The first
is "those British-born groups that grow out of the established Caribbean
communities, mainly in large cities. These tend to be more territorial
and larger in terms of membership".
- The second category is: "Jamaican groups generally
smaller in number ... [they] have a greater tendency to be more mobile
throughout the country."
- The report continues: "While distinctions can be
drawn between UK and Jamaican Caribbean groups, both engage in the supply
of class A drugs, particularly crack, and share the same attitude to the
easy use of violence and firearms." High-powered Mac10 machine-pistols
are considered "prestige weapons", but "shotguns, self-loading
pistols, reactivated and modified weapons all feature". Bryan McLeish,
31, of Winson Green, Birmingham, was given two life sentences in June last
year for a Yardie double murder in a drugs feud. Godfrey Scott, 35, was
gunned down outside his home and Ray Samuels, 32, was tied up, skinned
and had his tongue cut out. A month earlier, a notorious Yardie was jailed
for 12 years for kidnapping two men in north London and torturing them
with a hammer, electric iron and boiling water.
- Mark Lambie was jailed after his victims gave evidence,
despite one of them having been shot, allegedly to stop him entering the
witness box. Fellow gang-leader Anthony Bourne was also jailed for 12 years
for his role in the attack.
- The murder of Toni-Ann Byfield, the seven-year old shot
in the back last month while staying in London with her father, a convicted
crack cocaine dealer, also looks drugs-related.
- No national figures are given for the total strength
of the organised crime groups, but the report quotes a National Criminal
Intelligence Service review of Bristol in March, 2002, which reported that
there were an estimated 25 groups of Jamaicans. The police are having difficulties
in keeping tabs on the criminals because they move around a lot, have false
identity papers and often use only initials or street names, such as "T"
- The gangs have become skilful at breaking into new markets.
The report says: "A favoured method of entering a new area is to use
local prostitutes to set up crack houses and to break into the existing
heroin market. Once a foothold has been established, other dealers, or
rival Caribbean gangs will be targeted through intimidation, kidnap and
the use of firearms."
- The gangs are also found to be diversifying. The report
notes: "Increasingly, there are examples of Caribbean crime groups
collaborating with other ethnic groups to supply class A drugs. In Gloucester,
Jamaicans run teams of local white 'runners' and in Birmingham there is
a developing trend for the gangs to work with Asians in the supply of heroin."
The cocaine is smuggled into Britain by couriers from Jamaica and continental
Europe and also via cruise liners and "corrupt airport employees",
the report says.
- Jamaican criminals use different methods to enter the
UK, including false papers. But they also come as students, the report
says. A college in London, a religious centre in Manchester and a training
centre in Bristol are named as places used for gangsters to enter as bogus
- The report also warns about various music groups, including
the collective So Solid Crew, and nightclubs that attract the gangsters
and suggests all police forces should be alerted to the potential dangers.
- * A ton of cocaine with a street value of £19m
was seized by a Royal Navy destroyer in the Caribbean yesterday. HMS Manchester
picked up the drugs from the sea after the vessel it was chasing dumped
its cargo and escaped into Colombian waters.
- Force by force breakdown
- Avon and Somerset: "Over the past three or four
years there has been a huge increase in Jamaican criminals operating in
Bristol in loose networks." More than 50 reported firearm incidents
- Bedfordshire: Since 1999, black gangs have operated in
Luton and Bedford supplying class A drugs. Caribbean gangs from Manchester
and London are trying to move in
- Cambridgeshire: Since 2002, police have raided more than
20 suspected crack houses Cleveland: Since 2001, Jamaicans have been travelling
to Middlesbrough to distribute crack
- Derbyshire: Three groups operating out of Derby, one
with links to Jamaica, one to Nottingham and the Netherlands, and one to
Wolverhampton and Aberdeen
- Devon and Cornwall: Emerging problem with Jamaicans moving
- Dorset: Afro-Caribbean dealers established in Bournemouth
selling heroin and crack
- Gloucestershire: Firearms incidents in Gloucester involving
Yardie gangs from neighbouring police force areas
- Greater Manchester: Emergence of Jamaican gangs has not
yet resulted in armed clashes with white gangs
- Hampshire: In 2001, six Yardies arrived in Southampton
to supply crack and heroin. Operation has grown and there are 260 suspects
- Hertfordshire: Two groups, one numbering 14 and the other
four, introduced crack
- Humberside: Jamaicans travelling to Hull from London,
Nottingham and Midlands and recruiting local criminals to distribute drugs
- Kent: Twelve Jamaicans from London moved into heroin
market, and run prostitution operation and deal crack
- Lancashire: Jamaicans supplying crack from 30 addresses,
mainly in Preston. Connected to Yardies in London and Midlands
- Merseyside: Four Jamaican gangs in Liverpool, one on
the Wirral. Involved in drugs, bogus marriages and guns
- Metropolitan Police: Extensive problems with Caribbean
gangs and Jamaicans withcontacts through UK
- Northamptonshire: Jamaican group moved from London to
supply crack in 1999. Prostitutes are used to introduce drugs to clients
- Nottinghamshire: Jamaicans exerting control through extreme
violence, with substantial increase in gun crime
- South Wales: 8,000 heroin and crack users buying an estimated
£130m of drugs a year, much coming from Yardies in Bristol
- South Yorkshire: Big increase in kidnappings and firearms
incidents in Afro-Caribbean areas of Sheffield since 2001. Caribbean criminals
fled from Manchester to Sheffield and work with local Asian drug dealers
- Surrey: In June 2001, two Jamaican males stopped from
selling crack in Camberley. Since then no evidence of infiltration
- Sussex: In 2000, a group of Jamaicans started supplying
crack in Brighton area; now spread through county
- Thames Valley: Marked increase in Jamaicans selling drugs
in Reading, Oxford, Slough and High Wycombe
- Warwickshire: Individuals, then drugs gangs moved in
from neighbouring areas
- West Midlands: Trend of American-based Jamaicans moving
in. Local gangs known as "Home Boys"
- West Yorkshire: Existing Caribbean drug dealers in Chapeltown,
Leeds, forced out by Jamaicans with links through UK and Jamaica
- Wiltshire: Drugs run from Brixton to Swindon and Bristol
by train daily, but supply disorganised after it reaches the city
- Edinburgh and Glasgow: Yardies have moved to the cities
- Aberdeen: Jamaicans from Wolverhampton and Derby moved
prostitutes into area to meet demand from oil-rig workers. Prostitutes
introduced cocaine and crack to area
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