Lancashire

Lancashire police sergeant's double life exposed

To his colleagues and the local community Salim Razaq was a respected police sergeant in Nelson, Lancashire.

But what his work mates, and the public he had served for nine years, did not know was that he had been living a double life.

When he took his uniform off, the 33-year-old was a member of a criminal gang.

His brother Hafiz had been a major player in a Preston gang, members of which were jailed for the kidnap of a man, Mohammed Beg, in the city in 2008.

And while Hafiz, 25, was on remand in prison, his older brother stepped in to his role.

"Hafiz was the gang's enforcer. He got put away and his business had to continue," Det Supt Martyn Leveridge, of Lancashire Police's professional standards department, said.

Prison calls

Salim stashed three sub-machine guns, rounds of ammunition and £72,000 in cash at his home in Chorley Road, Preston.

The brothers, and their mother Gulshan, also tried to affect the outcome of the kidnapping case.

Image caption Three machine guns were found in suitcases under the stairs at Salim Razaq's house

They tried to stop a key witness going to court and encouraged another defendant to give a false statement.

Salim Razaq, who was dismissed from the police in June, pleaded guilty last month to perverting the course of justice, possessing firearms and ammunition and misconduct in a public office.

His brother, mother and three others have also admitted charges in relation to the case.

On Thursday, Judge Henry Globe QC, at Liverpool Crown Court, lifted reporting restrictions on Razaq's crimes after he was cleared of mortgage fraud in separate proceedings.

Lancashire police was first alerted to Salim's double life when phone calls with his brother in prison were monitored.

Salim was heard reassuring his brother that the taxi driver who transported the kidnappers "would be taken care of".

Intelligence 'flowing in'

The taxi driver's uncle was then threatened, as organised by Salim, police said.

Other intelligence "started to flow in" on Salim, and police began monitoring him, Det Supt Leveridge said.

They discovered thousands of pounds were being moved in and out of his bank accounts.

Other surveillance started to link the three other defendants to their criminal activity.

But as they began to piece the different bits of evidence together, they had an added complexity: "We had a sergeant in the middle of this," Det Supt Leveridge said.

"Investigating serving officers is really challenging," Det Ch Insp Pauline Lambert, who led the criminal investigation, said.

"They are aware of tactics, locations, and ourselves.

"You only have one chance really. You don't want someone left within the organisation doing further damage.

"You don't want a bit of chat, a bit of talk, and that goes to someone else and then that rings a bell with another person and then you find your evidence is drying up."

Guns under stairs

Police raided nine homes across Lancashire on 16 March, including Salim's.

They were searching the property for money, documents and paperwork.

Image caption £72,000 in cash was found hidden in a bedroom cupboard during the raid

But they found far more than they expected - three sub machine guns tucked into suitcases.

The weapons were in working order, but none had been used.

"But if a criminal gang has access to firearms and ammunition, you can imagine the impact within their criminal world and the public danger that could come of that," Det Supt Leveridge said.

Hundreds of live rounds of ammunition were stashed under the shed and £72,000 in cash was hidden in Salim's bedroom wardrobe.

A balaclava, ballistic protection jacket and knuckle duster were also recovered.

Tick lists of names and amounts of money were found in the house - similar to those found in his brother's prison cell.

Police say they believe they were lists of the gang's drug customers.

Their discoveries - which Det Ch Insp Lambert said were "shocking" - led to Lancashire police charging, and eventually convicting, one of their own.

The Razaq brothers, their mother and three other defendants are due to be sentenced on 11 November.

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