North West Regional Organised Crime Unit

Operation Aviary

Titan, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, was investigating members of the crime group when it became apparent that the group was armed and intent on carrying out a criminal act in the Rochdale area.

On Monday, 8 November, 2010, two members of the gang, who both had previous convictions for firearms offences, were under police surveillance. They were seen driving a Ford Fiesta and observed meetinh up with the other members of the gang at an address in Prestwich.

Later that evening, the Fiesta was seen to leave the Prestwich address in convoy with another Fiesta and a Ford Focus heading in the direction of Rochdale.

Shortly after 9.30pm the three cars were stopped by GMP armed officers on Roch Mills Crescent, Rochdale.

A machete, a loaded sawn off shotgun and a loaded gas powered pistol were recovered from one of the Fiestas. One of the occupants was wearing a balaclava when arrested and further balaclavas were also found in the vehicles.

The shotgun was a 12 gauge, double-barrelled gun in fully working order. Analysis later found that it contained two cartridges.

The handgun was confirmed to be a loaded Walther CP88 gas powered air pistol capable of causing serious injury or death.

The gang received a total of 47-and-a-half years imprisonment.