Operation put crooks in jail for 60 years

Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long

A MASSIVE crackdown on drug dealers and burglars in Calderdale has seen more than six decades’ worth of prison sentences slapped on criminals.

Operation Irondale led to dozens of home raids across the district and scores of arrests.

It is thought the jail sentences given to people arrested during the operation amount to around 68 years.

While sentencing the most recent trio to be handed jail sentences, Judge John Potter said he had no hesitation in commending the work of officers involved in helping bring the men to justice.

“I appreciate that it takes significant courage for officers to work undercover over a significant period of time in situations in which the anticipation of likely personal danger is quite clear and I have no difficulty in firstly recognising that and secondly making the commendation orders requested,” he said.

He handed commendations to several members of Calderdale Police’s Proceeds of Crime Act Team – Detective Sergeant Bill Hargreaves, Detective Constable Tony Chapman and financial investigator Nigel Crowther.

Seven officers from West Yorkshire’s crime division were also commended.

Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long, from Calderdale Police, said: “The most recent court appearances will bring to a close all prosecutions for those defendants who have been arrested and charged with drug offences related to Operation Irondale.

“The operation has been an enormous success and brought to justice numerous individuals who have been pedalling misery among communities within Calderdale.

“The drive to take drugs off the streets by police has undoubtedly had an impact on levels of crime within Calderdale as there are currently 1,000 fewer recorded offences of this nature this year.

“The police will not be complacent and we recognise that we can learn from Operation Irondale and continue to target those individuals who continue to be involved with the supply of controlled drugs and causing harm to the public.

“The recognition for the named officers gives me great pleasure and reflects the painstaking efforts they have undertaken over the past 18 months in some extremely trying circumstances.”

Judge Potter was the presiding judge for the majority of cases arising from Operation Irondale.

As reported in the Courier, the latest case saw him sentencing Mohammed Khumran Taj, 29, of Pear Street, Halifax, to nine years in jail for more than 20 charges relating to the supply of heroin and crack cocaine, possession of the drugs with intent to supply and acquiring criminal property.

Mohammed Khumran Taj had appeared alongside his brother, Sohail Taj, 21, of Lister Lane, Halifax, who admitted being concerned in the supply of drugs and two unrelated offences of dangerous driving. He was jailed for a total of four-and-a-half years and banned from driving for two years.

Also sentenced was their cousin, 28-year-old Mohammed Riaz, of Gibraltar Road in Halifax, who was found guilty after a trial of being concerned in dugs supply.

His nine-month term was suspended for two years and he will have to do 250 hours’ unpaid work and abide by a might-time home curfew.