Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 14:12 UK

City flat used as heroin factory

By Chris Buckler
BBC News North of England correspondent

Exterior of the flat block
Neighbours in the apartment block were shocked by the discovery

Behind the front door of a city centre apartment in Bradford detectives found a heroin factory.

Drugs with a street value of about £7.5m had been prepared in the apparently ordinary flat, to be sold in towns and cities across the UK.

That process involved diluting the high-purity heroin with cheap chemicals like caffeine, to increase the profits made by the two criminal gangs who illegally imported it.

Officers found the rooms covered in powder, but neighbours at the Gatehaus apartment block were completely unaware of the multi-million pound drugs operation that was hidden just doors away.

"I'm really shocked," said one resident.

"When I bought this apartment they told me the best of the best people would be living here... not drug dealers."

We have made a massive impact on two organised crime groups that have been completely dismantled
Gerry Smyth, Soca

The leaders of the gangs were Mohammed Nazir and John Ryder.

Leeds Crown Court was told they were operating at a scale that put them "near to the very top of the heroin trade within the UK".

Nazir and Ryder worked together because they needed each other.

Nazir had organised the purchase of the heroin in Turkey, although it probably originated in Afghanistan.

The drugs were moved through Europe to Holland where members of Ryder's gang organised for them to be smuggled into the UK.

The judge in the case admitted that the exact amount imported would never be known, however he said it was a "huge quantity".

Second factory

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) worked closely with Dutch police officers to establish the drugs route, while surveillance officers secretly photographed meetings between the gangs and bugged telephone calls.

The evidence they gathered helped to put eight men behind bars.

Nazir, 31, from Prestwich, and Karl Edwards, 33, from Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin.

Interior of the flat
Detectives found the rooms covered with powder

Ryder, 29, Daniel Hayes, 42, both from Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import heroin, as did Christopher Cobby, 39, from Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Following a trial, Abid Sabir, 25, Wajid Sabir, 29 and Sayedur Rahman, 25, all from Bradford, were found guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin.

Gerry Smyth from Soca said: "We have made a massive impact on two organised crime groups that have been completely dismantled.

"They would have continued with their business for many, many years to come and would have put many more hundreds of kilos of heroin on the streets of the UK."

The apartment in Bradford was not the only heroin factory.

Equipment had been moved to a Birmingham suburb where another so-called "bash house" was being set up.

Inside the home, officers discovered protective clothing, an industrial mixer and hydraulic presses - all needed to prepare the drugs for sale by dealers.

From the bases in Bradford and Birmingham, Nazir had planned to supply the heroin to dealers throughout England.

Mr Smyth said: "I really do believe they are very significant finds.

"I think we've been very successful in taking a lot of heroin off the streets."

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Men jailed for heroin conspiracy
16 Jul 09 |  West Yorkshire

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