'Professional' criminal sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for drugs and gun offences (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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'Professional' criminal from Middlesbrough, sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for drugs and gun offences
8:01pm Monday 16th September 2013 in News
A SEASONED criminal who orchestrated a campaign of terror against a Hartlepool man has been sentenced to almost six years in prison for firearms offences.
Brian Clarke, also known as Seaman, used henchmen to target the self-employed businessman on two occasions, with him being beaten with an iron bar and baseball bat before an unknown person riding a motorbike was sent to his home address to threaten him with a loaded gun in July last year.
The motive for the attacks has never been disclosed.
Forty-year-old Clarke, of Grosmont Road, Grangetown, Middlesbrough, hired Ian Froom and another man to attack the victim after he was lured to an address in Durham Road, Eston, near Middlesbrough.
The pair, who were wearing balaclavas, issued threats after beating him with a bar and baseball bat.
However, David Brooke, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that Clarke felt the message had not got through and ordered another man, who has not been traced, to threaten his target.
Mr Brooke told the court that the rider of the motorbike, which was linked to Clarke, was spotted by police and the would-be gunman rode away from the address in Hartlepool before throwing away the loaded Bernardelli handgun on Telford Avenue, South Bank.
Officers set up a camera and a couple of days later, two men linked to Clarke were sent to retrieve the discarded gun.
Nigel Harker, 36, of Middleton Road, Hartlepool, and Stephen Stead, 40, of Hart Lane, Hartlepool, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm.
Sentencing Clarke, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, branded him a professional criminal.
He said: “Not only have you got previous convictions, you have pleaded guilty to another conspiracy and have access to a loaded hand gun. You are somebody who is prepared to get others to carry out your dirty work.”
Clarke was sentenced to five years and eight months for conspiracy to possess a fire arm with intent to cause fear. He was given a concurrent three years for conspiracy to cause ABH. Those two sentences were added to his earlier sentence for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, so in total he will serve 12 years and four months.
Froom, 42, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to two years for conspiracy to cause ABH, while Harker and Stead were given sentences of three years and six months.