Four members of an organised crime group who attempted to burgle a business in Greater Manchester have been jailed.
The men, who are from Blackpool and Lincoln, were put behind bars for 11 years each at Manchester Crown Court.
The sentences related to a burglary gone wrong in Heywood at a storage area owned by businessman Peter Cordwell.
Sadly Peter, 49, died that day and detectives speaking after the sentencing said their thoughts were with his family.
Who are the men who have been jailed and what did they do?
The men who have been jailed are:
Ahmad Mirza, a 37-year-old from Norris Street in Lincoln, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Kurdistan Hamid, 40, also of Norris Street in Lincoln, who received 11 years and eight months in prison.
Saman Ali, 31, of Belmont Avenue in Blackpool, who got 11 years in jail.
Ali Karimi, 38, of Fir Grove in Blackpool, who was ordered to spend 11 years behind bars.
All four men pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and conspiracy to burgle.
The court heard how on the evening of 28 October 2020 police received a call from a security guard at Collop Gate Farm who reported a group of around eight men attempting to break into one of the secure storage containers.
This container was later discovered to contain around £800,000 worth of counterfeit cigarettes.
The gang removed the locked gates into the farm and drove in using two vehicles.
On being alerted to the break-in, businessman Peter drove to the scene in an attempt to thwart the offenders along with his son.
Peter’s son blocked the exit of the unit before he and the security guard were violently attacked. They sought to seek refuge in Peter’s car, which was also attacked, with the defendants smashing the windscreen with weapons.
Fearing for their lives, Peter drove away from the scene but suffered a heart attack and died nearby.
The defendants fled the scene.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched a major operation in the wake of the shocking incident and after appeals to the public for information, telephone enquiries, vehicle number plate checks and ID parades the four men were arrested and brought before the courts.
What have police said about the sentencing?
Senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe of the GMP serious crime division said: “This was a burglary gone wrong, which tragically concluded with an innocent man later losing his life and our thoughts are very much with Peter’s loved ones today.
“The defendants formed part of a national organised crime group who would sell counterfeit cigarettes before then locating where they had been stored by the buyer and stealing them back into their possession.
“The violence they used towards the victims that evening was deplorable and shows their ruthless and dangerous mindset.
“We have been committed from day one in ensuring that these people faced justice and we will continue to crack down on organised crime in Greater Manchester.”