Seven men involved in a long-running feud that sparked a series of violent incidents, including one at a Leeds car dealership, have been jailed for more than 25 years.
Staff and customers at the Volkswagen dealership in Elland Road were left terrified when balaclava-clad men armed with machetes and other weapons burst into the showroom in pursuit of three other men on the morning of Thursday, October 31, last year.
The shocking scenes were the latest explosion of violence in an ongoing feud between the James and Pattison/Patterson families and their associates.
In the background were two attempted murders – a shooting of a James family member in North Yorkshire in February 2013 and a machete attack on a member of the Patterson family in Cleckheaton in April 2013.
Although two men were charged over the machete attack the case at Leeds Crown Court collapsed in October last year when no witnesses attended court.
A number of other ‘tit for tat’ incidents culminated in the violent scenes at the car dealership in Elland Road.
Under Operation Dollbridge, a team of detectives from Leeds District CID spent months uncovering vital evidence that linked the suspects to the incident and saw them charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
Even while the trial was ongoing at court police continued to receive reports of incidents believed to have involved parties on either side of the feud. A significant policing operation had to be put in place to avoid any escalation.
Yesterday at Leeds Crown Court seven of the eight men charged were found guilty and sentenced to a total of 25 years and six months between them.
Following the case, Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Atkinson, who led the investigation, said: “These offenders are organised criminals who were prepared to use premeditated violence to seek reprisals against their rivals in this long-running feud.
“Their actions not only put the lives of their intended targets at risk but could easily have resulted in innocent members of the public being hurt.
“Their shocking behaviour unnecessarily created fear among ordinary people who witnessed it and it simply cannot be tolerated.
“These offenders have generally refused to assist the police and think they can take the law into their own hands to sort out their disputes. They think of themselves as untouchable but this case should clearly demonstrate that no-one is above the law.
“West Yorkshire Police is committed to making sure our communities are safer and feel safer and will always do all it can to bring violent offenders to justice.
“We hope the convictions of these men and the sentences they have received will serve as a warning to others who think they can act outside of law without having to face the consequences.”
Daniel Robert James, 38, of Bullough Lane, Rothwell, received five years and three months in prison; Lee James, 35, of Gelderd Road, Leeds, received three years and nine months; Peter James, 40, of Murton Lane, York, received three years and nine months; Adam Kindon, 36, of Ingram Road, Leeds, received three years and three months; John Kindon, 29, of Gelderd Road, Leeds, received three years; Levi Pattison, 39, of Gelderd Road, Leeds, received three years and three months; Steve Pattison, 35, of Hillidge Road, Leeds, received three years and three months.
Samuel James, 55, of Spring Avenue, Leeds, was found not guilty.
Serious Crime Prevention Orders were granted against Lee James, Peter James, Daniel James, Levi Pattison and Steve Pattison. The orders last for five years from their release from prison and place strict conditions on them including requirements to notify the police in detail about their ownership of vehicles or mobile phones.