Durham Police detectives who played key role in bringing down East Durham crime gang receive commendations
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Seven East Durham men who engaged in a war with rival criminals on the streets of Hartlepool and Horden were jailed for almost 100 years last September.
A weekend of violence and destruction saw the gang headed by James Stephenson ram a 4X4 into the front of a house in Hartlepool and torch a car on the drive.
When the rival gang carried out reprisals by ramming businesses in Horden linked to Stephenson it prompted a high speed chase during which shots were fired.
Durham Constabulary’s Major Crime Team launched a complex investigation named Operation Coastal involving 100 officers and staff.
Officer in Charge (OIC) Detective Constable Helen Tindale and Detective Sergeant Sam Young who worked around the clock on the investigation were commended by the sentencing judge.
Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Rachel Bacon presented the commendations from Judge James Adkin last week, alongside her own Chief Constable Commendations.
Commendations from Detective Chief Superintendent David Ashton recognising the work of officers and staff involved in the investigation were also handed out.
Chief Constable Bacon said: “This was a phenomenal effort from everyone involved. “It was a hugely complex investigation, one of the biggest the force has ever seen.
“Judges don’t hand out commendations very often so to receive two in this case is testament to the level of work that has gone into this case, not just to those receiving those awards but to all involved.
“Everyone played a fundamental role, and I am incredibly proud of the work that was done and the result that was achieved.
“I would also like to thank our communities as this result is also testament of their continued support."
The defendants, all from Horden, Peterlee and wider East Durham area, were jailed after pleading guilty to various offences including conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a prohibited firearm, criminal damage with intent to endanger life, arson and possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.
Chief Constable Bacon added: “These seven men are now each serving significant sentences and I hope it sends out the message we will not tolerate such extreme violence on our streets.”