Five men from rival gangs have this week been convicted after three violent incidents in Bedford in little over two weeks.
- Three members of the so-called ‘Kempston Block’ gang were found responsible for a kidnap and a shooting during the spree of violence in June 2017.
- Two members of the rival Mile Road gang were this week convicted over a stabbing linked to the gang rivalry in the same month.
All five men are due to be sentenced on March 11.
During the first incident, on 3 June 2017, an off-duty police officer saw a man being assaulted near Addison Howard Park in Kempston.
Bedfordshire Police officers tracked a car leaving the scene. The vehicle failed to stop so was forcibly stopped by officers in Chantry Avenue.
Saffa Gbonda, 25, of Walcourt Road, Kempston, was driving the car at the time and arrested at the scene. The victim of the assault was also freed from the vehicle.
Gbonda was later convicted of conspiracy to kidnap and GBH with intent at trial in October.
In retaliation, two weeks later, two Mile Road gang members stabbed a man in Hawkins Road, Bedford at around 7.50pm.
Maksims Boikovs, 19, of Brackley Road, Bedford, and Terrell Romain, 22, of Lewis Close, Bedford, were captured on CCTV heading towards the scene of the assault and then leaving in the other direction shortly afterwards.
The victim suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. He and a friend were able to walk a short way before he was treated by paramedics near the junction of London Road and Elstow Road.
The knife used in the attack was recovered with the victim.
Romain and Boikovs were found guilty of violent disorder, possession of a bladed article and conspiracy to commit GBH at St Albans Crown Court on Monday in relation to the attack.
Two days after the stabbing, on 19 June, Kempston Block gang members were involved in a shooting in Miller Road.
Antonio Ziu, 22, of Warwick Avenue, Bedford, and Vincent Kingswell-Shaw, 22, of Foster Road, Kempston, were convicted of conspiracy to commit GBH with intent at the previous trial in October.
Dozens of shotgun pellets were fired at a home around 10.25pm. Two men inside the address suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries, while significant damage was also caused inside and outside the property.
The car used in the shooting was found abandoned later that night. Inside the vehicle officers recovered a lump hammer, knife sheath and shotgun cartridges.
Fingerprint analysis linked Ziu and Kingswell-Shaw to the vehicle.
Detective Inspector Janine Graham, who led the investigation, said: “This sort of mindless gang violence has no place on the streets of our county. Thankfully, outbursts of violence on this scale are rare, but when they do happen they are tackled robustly and proactively.
“The actions of all five men have left multiple people with serious injuries and put innocent members of the public at risk, as the feuds between different gangs spilled out into the open.
“As a force we have taken a number of significant steps towards tackling serious youth violence in the north of Bedfordshire. We will do all we can to stamp out gang crime, and look forward to these five being sentenced in the coming weeks.”