These are the faces of the violent drug-dealing Blackburn brothers who callously kidnapped, tortured and left an innocent man to die in a terrifying case of mistaken identity.
Preston Crown Court heard the sordid story of Faisal and Faizaan Fareed, siblings who considered themselves gangsters.
The pair were obsessed with weapons and drugs and between August 2020 and January 2021, dealt heroin, cocaine and cannabis from a property on Sandon Street in Blackburn.
The property belonged to a man named Robert Weir, whose life and home had been taken over by the Fareed brothers in what police refer to as an act of ‘cuckooing’.
Mr Weir was fed drugs to keep him quiet so the brothers could deal from his property, effectively handling heroin, cocaine and cannabis to the value of almost £20,000, which they then sold on the streets of Blackburn using trusted minions, or ‘runners’, who helped operate their crime gang via a drugs telephone line called the ‘Ghost Line’.
Police had information on the Fareeds’ drugs racket after being informed of the cuckooing by a distressed and terrified Mr Weir in October 2020. Officers launched Operation Greylock in hope of snaring the brothers and their narcotics.
In January 2021, police attended Faisal Fareed’s home in Lawrence Street to arrest him on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs. A third man, Razvan Todiranu, one of the brothers’ trusted runners, was also arrested.
Faizaan Fareed remained outstanding for the drugs matters for months and continued to evade police capture up until July this year.
Prosecuting, Bob Elias said: “£2,817.27 cash was seized from Faisal Fareed’s bedroom.
“Receipts were also recovered from within Faisal Fareed’s bedroom, amongst the cash, which itemised a list of weapons purchased on two separate occasions for cash, from a shop in Leeds City Centre – Fantasia Leeds Ltd.
“One receipt shows that on December 27, 2020 a number of weapons were purchased from this shop including axes, knives, air pistols, machetes and masks for £478.87 cash.
“Two further receipts show that more weapons including knives, axes and cross bow were purchased from this store on January 3 2021.
“One transaction was for £35.98 cash and the second transaction being for £496.96 cash.
“Weapons are you may feel part of the tools of the trade for drug dealers who are always vulnerable to so-called taxing from rival gangs.”
It was weapons similar to these and purchased from the same store which would later be used in the kidnapping incident in Darwen.
Meanwhile, Faisal and Faizaan Fareed, along with another brother, Kamraan, were also wanted by police in connection with an affray incident which dated back to October 2020 – the same time Mr Weir had reported the cuckooing to police.
The court was told how Kamraan Fareed – becoming insanely jealous of his ex-girlfriend’s new partner, Fiysal Slaam – together with his brothers, launched a vicious assault on Mr Slaam and his friend Hasan Mahmood in Hollin Street in Blackburn.
Mr Mahmood was attacked with a machete and a baseball bat while Mr Slaam sustained a 6cm long and 8cm deep laceration to his leg.
Mr Elias told the court: “This is the Fareed family taking the law into its own hands, once more using serious weapons— some of the photographs show knives similar to those utilised in other cases.
“Jealousy is sometimes called the green-eyed monster. Immature men sometimes cannot cope with their ex-partner moving on. Hearing a rival voice talking to their former girlfriend, even on a phone call can seem like a provocation, an insult which can cause hot-headed violence.
“In this case family violence marked by the use of weapons for no sensible reason beyond a perceived slight.”
With these incidents being investigated by the police, skip forward to June 2021, and Faisal Fareed has been released over the drugs and affray matters, with Faizaan Fareed still on the run from police.
The brothers turned their attention to a cannabis farm believed to be located in a DIY shop in the Birch Hall area of Darwen.
The court was told how the brothers staked out the property, using inside information from the drugs underworld to pinpoint the exact time the crop would mature.
Unbeknown to the innocent Diyar Mohammed, a takeaway worker who parked his car outside the DIY shop every day to go to work, the Fareeds, along with an accomplice, Nicholas Shaw, had earmarked Mr Mohammed as the man responsible for the cannabis farm.
Intent on stealing the grow for their own gains, the brothers hatched a cruel plot to kidnap Mr Mohammed and torture him until he allowed them into the property where they would seize the cannabis.
Mr Elias said: “It was his misfortune that a gang of desperate men mistook him for an Afghani who was involved with the DIY shop and a cannabis farm and abducted him in his own car and tortured him with knives and a machete in an attempt to gain access to the shop.
“Mr Diyar was severely injured by these heartless men, who effectively left him to die when their scheme fell apart. Luckily he survived to be at court today.
“He was utterly the victim of mistaken identity, he is not tainted with any suggestion of criminality. He was the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“As Mr Mohammed parked up on a Sunday, June 13, 2021 Mr Mohammed, having driven home from his work left his Ford Fiesta on Birch Hall Avenue in Darwen.
“As he got out of the car he was jumped by four big men. They wore balaclavas and had machetes.
“He was pushed into the back seat and the keys were snatched from his hand. He was squeezed between two kidnappers in the back and two other men were in the front.
“The driver pulled up his balaclava to drive and Diyar saw he was a white man. He was punched and threatened.”
The court was told how Mr Mohammed tried to explain to the kidnappers, who we now know as the Fareed brothers, Shaw – the driver – and one other man who has still not been identified, that he was just an innocent person, but they wouldn’t listen.
Mr Elias went on: “Diyar meanwhile realised he was bleeding, he had been stabbed.
“His breathing was making a bubbling sound. One of the abductors was poking him in the chest with a knife and he could feel the knife enter his chest.
“Just imagine how that might feel as these utterly ruthless men tortured him.
“He was told they were going to kill him. There was no reason not to believe them.
“Diyar was bleeding badly. He asked if he could put a scarf on his head to staunch bleeding and a rolled-up prayer mat under his arm where he was bleeding heavily.
“They took his cash from his wallet, some £1,600 to £1,700 pounds he had saved as he was planning on buying a washer. Diyar said he was going to bleed to death, he was bleeding internally.
“The kidnappers tried the keys out on the door of the DIY shop and of course, they didn’t work.
“Knives and the machete were held to Diyar’s neck and chest as the kidnappers insisted that his keys should work. They checked his credit cards.
“He was pointing out his T-shirt badge from the takeaway. Eventually, it dawned on the criminals that they had made a mistake.”
The defendants then left Mr Mohammed in the street, bleeding to death. He was admitted to hospital and spent the next two weeks in critical care.
Police launched an investigation and connected Shaw and the Fareed brothers, as well as two other men (who are set to stand trial over the matters) to the kidnapping, tracing their mobile phones to the kidnap location, and linking a BMW to Shaw.
They also discovered multiple phone calls between the brothers and Shaw on the night of the kidnap and found receipts from Fantastia of Leeds, which Faisal Fareed had travelled to just two days earlier to purchase weapons used in the kidnapping – the same store they had used to purchase weapons for their drugs operation.
Faisal and Faizaan Fareed and Nicholas Shaw all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap. The Fareed brothers also pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Kamraan, Faisal and Faizaan Fareed pleaded guilty to affray in relation to the October 2020 incident.
Faisal and Faizaan Fareed pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin, cocaine and cannabis.
Faisal Fareed, 23, of Lawrence Street, Blackburn, was sentenced to a total of 11 years in jail.
Faizaan Fareed, 26, of the same address was handed 10 years in prison.
Nicholas Shaw, 45, of Medina Close, Accrington, was jailed for six years.
Kamraan Fareed, also of Lawrence Street, Blackburn, was jailed for a year. As he is currently serving a 45-month sentence for other matters, the 12 months handed to him today will run consecutively to that sentence.