THIS major police operation, believed to the biggest in Burton’s history, has been meticulously planned during the past 12 months.
Mainly an operation to defeat drug dealers, it is also running alongside a concerted effort to put an end to an ongoing gang feud that has embroiled the town for the past two years.
Operation Enigma began life on May 19, 2011, as police in Burton tired to put an end to factional violence described as ‘the greatest threat to life’ in the county by senior police officers.
The specialist team of officers was assembled following a drive-by shooting and a grenade attack — both of which were believed to stem from friction between two Burton families.
On March 2, 2011, a grenade blast rocked a house in Goodman Street - blowing out the windows of the ground-floor lounge.
Two occupants of the house, a 49-year-old man and his 18- year-old daughter, both members of the Ali family, escaped unharmed from the blast.
Army experts later confirmed that fact that the blast was caused by a grenade while police also confirm the attack was a result of tensions building between rival groups and their criminal associates.
On March 25, senior police officers met with council chiefs to discuss the grenade attack.
Police then accused the Ali family of ‘not telling them everything they know’ at a public meeting attended by 150 people as they struggled to advance their investigations.
They also propagated the theory that the grenade attack was carried out by people who lived in Derby or Birmingham, brought in by a faction of Burton’s Pakistani community involved in a long-running dispute with the Ali family.
On April 11, the Ali family broke their silence in light of accusations made by the police that they were withholding information about their attackers.
Subhat Ali told the Mail: “I came from my mother’s house and that was about 8.30pm — then, just bang.
“There was lots of smoke and I could hear water dripping down from the ceiling — one of the central heating pipes had burst.“People heard the explosion half way up the street.”
Police also confirmed that an incident in Derby Street, which saw the home of Mr Ali’s brother, Zahid, targeted in a drive-by shooting in June 2010, linked to the escalation in gang violence.
On April 11, police release CCTV images of the moment when the grenade was thrown through the Ali’s front room.
In June, 2011, the force revealed they have launched a zero tolerance campaign to put an end to the factional rivalry.
As a result of the police’s efforts, violent clashes between the two families ground to a halt.
On June 16, a 28-year-old man, from Birmingham, was arrested in connection with the grenade attack in Horninglow Road following a series of dawn raids.
On June 22, a second man, 22, from Burton, was arrested under the Explosives Act and in connection with the grenade attack. Both were released on police bail.
A spokesman for the force said: “Operation Enigma was put together to tackle organised criminality between two families that had escalated into extreme acts of violence and in turn put public safety at risk.
“The operation has been running since 2011 and the results shown have played a huge part in controlling their activities and criminality.
“If organised crime raises its ugly head in Burton the public may be reassured that police will not only respond swiftly but also with zero tolerance to stamp it out of our communities.”
This latest operation has shown that the feud between the gangs has yet to be removed from the streets of Burton but work is being done to do just that.