Beds, Herts & Bucks

Habib Ullah verdict linked to High Wycombe vandalism

window smashed in High Wycombe
Image caption Thames Valley Police has responded with mounted patrols and urged witnesses to come forward

About 130 cars have been vandalised in an "unprecedented" spree linked to the death of a man who collapsed after he was stopped by police.

Habib Ullah, 39, also known as Paps, died after being stopped and searched in 2008.

An inquest recorded a verdict of death by misadventure last week.

Thames Valley Police has responded with mounted patrols. Eight people have been arrested in connection with the incidents.

Image copyright Justice4paps
Image caption Habib "Paps" Ullah died in hospital on 3 July 2008

The first cases of vandalism, which involved smashed car windows and graffiti painted on vehicles, started on Tuesday and continued through to the weekend.

Scores of vehicles have had NJNP - thought to stand for No Justice No Peace - sprayed on them.

Mohammed Khalil, a member of Thames Valley Police's independent advisory group, told BBC Three Counties Radio: "It is absolutely getting out of hand.

"I was out on patrol with police on Saturday evening and turning up to see faces of innocent victims of crime was very depressing.

"It is totally unprecedented and very worrying. Any tensions between elements of the community and the police need to be addressed."

Mr Ullah's family has condemned the damage.

Image copyright Justice4Paps
Image caption Supporters of Habib Ullah have held 13 vigils calling for justice

Ch Insp Rebecca Mears said: "I would like to reassure the public that we are putting appropriate measures in place to tackle the ongoing criminal damage in Wycombe.

"At the weekend additional patrols were put in place and we will continue to utilise additional resources going forward.

"We are aware residents are concerned about their vehicles and know the community does not condone this senseless damage."

Mr Ullah, from Slough in Berkshire, collapsed during a routine stop and search in a car park at High Wycombe in July 2008.

Following the inquest verdict, a police misconduct hearing is to be held.

Thames Valley Police said there is a case of "gross misconduct" to answer.

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