Two men from Preston have been jailed for their roles in an elaborate kidnap plot in which they tried to snatch a man who stole from the gang’s kingpin.Advertisement
A total of five members of the criminal gang have been jailed after they conspired to kidnap Hassan Akhtar.
Lancashire Police uncovered the plot when they found two men in a car with a kidnap kit, containing knives, cable ties and instructions on how to restrain their target.
At the heart of the plot was Hassan Akhtar, who had stolen £275,000 from criminal cash he was hired to launder.
Preston Crown Court heard Akhtar and his wife Amera were hired by the gang to take money from the North West to Europe.
But in August 2017 the pair went on the run with the cash.
Read more: Crime news from Blog Preston
Head of the gang Hanif Manjra, of Regent Drive Fulwood, employed a former soldier and private investigator called Alexander Gibbons to track down Akhtar.
On 25th August 2017 Gibbons and his associate John Powell entered a Travelodge on Burnley Lane in Oldham. Hassan Akhtar and his family had checked into the hotel on the 22nd August.
Posing as a police officer Gibbons obtained the hotel’s guest list and a master key to all rooms. Moments later he and Powell were seen dragging Hassan Akhtar through the reception and outside. Akhtar, however, managed to escape.
The kidnap plot continued over the next two months with members of the gang using various sophisticated techniques, including the use of vehicle trackers to trace Akhtar’s movements and carrying out covert surveillance on him and his wife Amera.
On the 10th October Gibbons and another gang member were arrested whilst carrying out ‘surveillance’ of Amera Akhtar.
They were in a vehicle which was searched and police recovered a ‘kidnap kit’ consisting of knives, tear gas, a balaclava, a snood, silicone gloves, duct tape, cable ties, a paper suit, plastic sheets, a photograph of Hassan Akhtar, a UN security badge, a sword disguised as walking stick and a demolition bar.
Also recovered from the vehicle was a piece of notepaper, upon which there was a handwritten note, it read, ‘take target, tape mouth 1st, then hands, behind back, once in vehicle, tape legs.
Gibbons and Thomas were arrested and the arrests of the other members of the gang followed police enquiries.
Both Hassan (24/1/69) and Amera Akhtar (20/9/75), of Blackburn Road, Accrington admitted money laundering offences in July last year. Hassan was jailed for 20 months and Amera was given a 12-month community order.
1) Mohammed Hanif Anwar Manijra (6/12/65) Regent Drive, Fulwood. Found guilty and sentenced to five years.
2) Alexander Paul Gibbons (21/02/78) Willow Street, Oswestry. Found guilty and sentenced to four years
3) Gulam Saiyed (18/04/63) Albatross Street, Preston. Found guilty and sentenced to three years
4) Muhammed Junaid Amjad (05/12/81) Gurney Street, Croydon. Found guilty and sentenced to three years.
5) John Michael Powell (25/10/51) Woodlands Court, Leeds. Found guilty and sentenced to two years suspended.
6) George Anthony Thomas (07/09/56) Welsh Walls, Oswestry. Found not guilty
All the above were charged with Conspiracy to Kidnap. Alexander Gibbons was also charged with Having an Offensive Weapon (cane sword)
They were sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday, December 18th.