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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 13:11 GMT
Keighley gangland threat
East Parade in Keighley
Keighley: changed by a succession of violent deaths
People in Keighley are living in fear after a wave of violent killings which locals suspect could be linked to drug warfare.

A search is continuing for a gang which used two cars to ram 24-year-old Qadir Ahmed's Rover before he was beaten to death at a roundabout in the West Yorkshire town on Wednesday.

Although police are not stressing a link with previous attacks, Mr Ahmed was the fourth man from the mill town to die in five months.

Keighley councillor Malcom Slater, 64, told BBC News Online: "People have suffered in terms of anxiety and a survey in the local press showed that fear of crime was affecting children."

You have incidents involving criminals fighting amongst themselves, turf wars, drug wars,

Deputy Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Phil Brear

One Keighley woman added: "It is quite scary as other people can get dragged into these things, it is a bit close to home."

Another resident said that he does not go to nightclubs anymore because of the violence.

But Mr Slater, 64, who grew up in the town, added: "The risk of getting involved is very small... and we have to make sure that the children are not getting unfiltered views."

Dr Stephen Shaw, a criminal psychiatrist based in West Yorkshire, agrees.

But he also feels the latest killing could take many months to solve.

Disciplinary affair

He said: "The police can only get information from informers... and these gangs are very close and tight knit.

"The reasons that these attacks happen is that it can be a disciplinary affair... it is a way of keeping people in line.

"Gangs are in it for the money, and their firm is under threat."

Police made 14 arrests after a teenager from Keighley was shot as he sat in his car in a petrol station fore court on 5 September 2001.

Police investigating roundabout
Police combed the scene of Mr Ahmed's death

But no charges were brought and the investigation goes on.

As Qadir Ahmed's family gathered at his home, the hunt for his killers continued.

Deputy Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Phil Brear stressed that crime had been successfully reduced overall but admitted that recent events in Keighley were worrying.

"When you have incidents involving criminals fighting amongst themselves, turf wars, drug wars, we're finding increasingly they're using firearms and knives and this leads to fatalities," he said.

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See also:

15 Feb 02 | England
Hunt for car ambush killers
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