UK Kurds to Cops: “You’re Not Welcome Here — This Is a Kurdish Street”

Claire Duffin, Daily Mail, January 4, 2018

Police were warned to stay away from a ‘Kurdish street’ said to be under the control of gangsters, a court heard.

Officers investigating the sale of illegal cigarettes, drug dealing and human trafficking were offered bribes to turn a blind eye.

But they refused and the Mini Market shop in Hyson Green, Nottingham was repeatedly raided by police and city council trading standards officers determined to tackle ‘criminal behaviour on a commercial scale’.

A judge at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court ordered the mini market closed for three months

During the raids, illegal tobacco worth £34,640 was seized, Nottingham Magistrates’ Court was told.

An illegal immigrant was found being kept as a ‘slave’ in a hole with the sole job of passing up illegal cigarettes to the shop.

PC Lee Wilson said: ‘Illicit tobacco was being used to fund criminality, primarily drug supply and human trafficking. Senior members of Kurdish organised crime have been using it to fund criminality in the Radford Road area.

‘A Kurdish businessman offered us £5,000 a month to cease the tobacco investigation.

‘With others involved in the operation, we had a search dog and were told, “police are not welcome on the street”. It was described as a “Kurdish street”.

‘There is the perception that all the shops on this particular street are controlled by gangsters.

‘It is an open secret these shops exist to supply tobacco.

‘It is the perception by local residents that the drug supply is by Kurdish gangsters.’

PC Wilson told the court shops filled shelves with ‘tinned goods and pickled items to create an illusion’.

He said intricate hiding places were made for the illegal cigarettes, with new spots created after raids.

One hideout was controlled by a fake fuse box and could only be opened when a switch was thrown which turned off a magnet controlling the locks.

False walls were built and some cigarettes were hidden in fruit juice containers.

The judge made an order to close the Mini Market shop for three months.

District Judge Leo Pyle said: ‘There are no “no-go” areas in this land. There will never be streets or shops where criminals can go about their business with impunity. ‘Every citizen is subject to the rule of law. There is no such thing as a “Kurdish street”.’

Trading standards officer Paul Wheddon told how a secret cellar was lined with cigarettes. Sitting in the cellar was a ‘failed asylum seeker with no rights in the UK’ who had the task of passing up cigarettes to the shop.

When found, he was placed in the care of an anti-slavery team, the court heard.

Mr Wheddon said: ‘He said he was dropped into the hole and would be given some money to stay there for eight hours.’

The judge said: ‘Effectively it was a cell. He couldn’t get out of it. There was no escape had there been an emergency.

‘That shows the callous indifference for the safety of illegal workers.’

After the hearing, city council chief trading standards and anti-social behaviour officer Richard Antcliff said: ‘We see this as a landmark decision by the court which gives us the opportunity to use closure powers on other premises involved in the sale of illegal tobacco products.

‘The message to those engaged in this criminal activity is clear: if you continue, it is highly probable that we will close you down.’

Chris Larkin, from Nottingham City Council, said: ‘This is one of the clearest examples of criminal behaviour [as] shown by the council. The evidence of the police and trading standards shows the wider impact of the criminality on the public.’

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