A new BBC documentary focusing on organised crime in Manchester and its criminal underworld was watched by millions last Tuesday night.
The BBC Two programme, entitled ‘The Detectives: Fighting Organised Crime’, was filmed over two years with unprecedented access to Greater Manchester Police, offering frontline insight into one police force’s battle against organised crime.
Episode one delivered, if you’re after shock factor, that is.
In central Manchester, police are called after a man is taken from his home by an armed gang in front of his wife and children. Held hostage and tortured, he’s only released after a £34,000 ransom is paid. The victim, a wealthy man suspected to be linked to drug crime, is thought to be one of a list of people the gang plan to target.
The documentary series takes you behind the scenes of the investigation and gripped viewers across the country as police officers got up close and personal with evidence related to torture and even murder.
While the hunt is on to find these dangerous criminals, another horrific kidnap happens. The Major Incident Team (MIT) – the team in which the documentary has up close and person access to – suspect it could be the same gang, and after trawling through CCTV footage, they find harrowing footage of the kidnap in action.
As the investigation unfolds, specialist undercover and firearms units are assigned to find and arrest the gang, and we see the entire investigation from start to finish, leaving many viewers shocked and terrified that this type of criminal activity is happening right on their doorstop.
This week will be no different.
Episode two will air at 9pm this Tuesday, but the footage will take you back to 4.50pm on a July evening in 2018, when a van pulls up outside an address on a residential street in Ashton-under-Lyne. The occupants of the vehicle are delivering drugs to a local crack house.
As the driver gets out and goes to the door, a masked man bursts out and shoots repeatedly into the van – and then across the street at the escaping driver. The passenger of the vehicle, Luke Graham, is shot through the chest, and despite the efforts of local people and first responders, he later dies in hospital.
GMP’s Major Incident Team launch a murder investigation. The suspects are believed to be members of a violent organised crime group.
As the investigation unfolds, the police team meticulously piece together evidence from CCTV and phone records to uncover a large-scale conspiracy suspected to have involved up to ten members of the organised crime group.
It’s gripping from the very beginning, and covers an incident and spate of criminal activity that was covered multiple times in the national press back in 2018 and 2019.
Work to make Stevenson Square ‘more pedestrian and cyclist friendly’ begins next week
Improvement works to make Stevenson Square more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists is to finally begin next week.
After it was confirmed back in 2022 that the majority of the Northern Quarter square would remain pedestrianised following a trial that proved successful during the COVID pandemic, Manchester City Council has now revealed that contractors will begin work on the site to bring “a range of improvements to the area” from next week.
Work is to officially begin on Monday 5 June, and is expected to continue right through until October.
Councillors says it’s been their ambition for several years to carry out travel improvement works in Stevenson Square to not only “improve the amenity of the area”, but also implement changes that will “encourage a greater degree of walking and cycling”.
Some of the scheduled works include new pedestrian crossings at the junctions of Hilton and Oldham Street, Hilton and Newton Street, and Lever Street and Stevenson Square, as well as new tactile paving, the removal of pay and display bays, and the introduction of static blocks to help regulate vehicle access to the area.
There also be a new two-way cycleway running through Stevenson Square itself, and plenty of additional seating added to the ever-popular social hub.
Work in Stevenson Square forms the second section of the Northern Quarter Walking and Cycling Scheme, and is all part of Manchester City Council’s new wider ‘Active Travel’ strategy to put walking and cycling “at the heart of transport policy” and work towards making Manchester a zero-carbon city.
The Council says work is progressing well to create a joined-up network that runs between Piccadilly and Victoria Railway Stations.
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Manchester City Council, says that the work taking place over the coming months “will help make this area a more vibrant and accessible part of Manchester.”
Featured Image – TfGM
Greater Manchester customers slam Sainsbury’s policy that makes them ‘feel like thieves’
Customers at a number of Sainsbury’s stores in Greater Manchester have been left fuming as the result of a policy requiring receipts to be scanned before they can exit
Upon leaving stores, shoppers at Sainsbury’s supermarkets in Fallowfield and Salford are being confronted with automated barriers that can only be opened by scanning their receipt – or by contacting a store assistant.
Many have taken to Reddit to slam the new policy, with several claiming it is a ‘pointless waste of money and time’ and others saying they have been left ‘feeling like thieves’.
The receipt barriers, some shoppers say, only ‘makes life harder’ – yet it appears that Sainsbury’s is planning to roll them out at other stores across the UK too, following on from the introduction of cameras at its self-service stations in recent years.
The move by the supermarket echoes similar moves by the American supermarket Walmart, which is notorious for staff approaching ‘random’ customers at its exits and asking them to produce their receipts as they leave stores.
A series of recent posts on Reddit exposes several threads in which users commented on the introduction of the receipt barriers, both here in Greater Manchester as well as further afield.
The social media site reveals that stores in Fallowfield and Salford have both become unpopular since they started adopting the policy, which requires customers to scan receipts in order for them to exit.
If receipts are not scanned, barriers prevent customers from leaving until a store assistant is contacted.
One Reddit user has posted a picture of a notice in one of the Sainsbury’s store, reading: “We’ve introduced new barriers as you leave this store.”
“You’ll need to take your receipt and scan this on the barcode reader in front of the barriers.”
The original poster said they were ‘not a fan of how this is spreading’, leading other users on the site to agree.
Another person said the policy was a ‘pointless waste of money and time’ that ‘just makes everyone’s life harder, whilst another customer added: “Looks like Sainsbury’s can get f****d then.”
The installation of the barriers has left some customers “feeling like thieves” since their arrival last year but it appears that the supermarket has no plans to suspend the rollout, despite the backlash from shoppers.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said that the barriers are “one of a range of security measures” installed in a “small number of stores” but would not disclose how many it has installed in the UK.