'Drugs, firearms, money, kudos, status': Murder trial hears how Leeds gang The Flock 'openly advertise' criminality in the city

A jury have heard how Chapeltown gang 'The Flock' openly advertise criminality on social media
A jury have heard how Chapeltown gang 'The Flock' openly advertise criminality on social media
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The activities of Leeds criminal gang 'The Flock' have been revealed at a murder trial over the shooting of one its members.

Leeds Crown Court heard today how the Chapeltown-based group has become a major player in the city's criminal underworld.

Murder trial jury was shown image of 'Flock' gang graffiti written on wall of Chapeltown Nursery, on Reginald Street.

Murder trial jury was shown image of 'Flock' gang graffiti written on wall of Chapeltown Nursery, on Reginald Street.

Jurors heard how the group "openly advertised" their involvement in the class A drugs trade and their use of firearms - usually on social media.

A police officer with expert knowledge of gang activity in that area of Leeds estimated the The Flock had around 50 members.

PC Edward Crompton described how gang was a recent phenomenon which only emerged around six years ago.

The officer gave evidence at the trial of three men accused of murdering Christopher Lewis outside his home on Reginald Street, Chapeltown, on August 1 last year.

Christopher Lewis was shot dead outside his family home on Reginald Street.

Christopher Lewis was shot dead outside his family home on Reginald Street.

The jury has been told that Mr Lewis, 24, was a Flock member and was killed as part of a feud with a rival gang.

PC Crompton, now with Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Crime Unit, is a former neighbourhood policing officer based in Chapeltown.

He also spent years with West Yorkshire Police's Leeds-based proactive drugs and firearms team Operation Quartz.

The officer was asked by prosecutor Dafydd Enoch, QC, to tell the court what he knew about The Flock.

Leeds Crown Court heard how 'Flock' gang graffiti was "about territory".

Leeds Crown Court heard how 'Flock' gang graffiti was "about territory".

PC Crompton said police became aware of the group around six years ago.

He said their activities appeared to be very different from other crime groups as they do not keep their criminality a secret.

He said: "Drug dealing by its very nature is clandestine because of the attention it can inevitably draw.

"We started to hear about the word 'Flock'.

A loaded firearm seized at a house in Leeds in 2017, said to belong to a member of the Flock

A loaded firearm seized at a house in Leeds in 2017, said to belong to a member of the Flock

"I was reasonably dismissive about it because it goes against the grain. But gradually it was undeniable.

"I would say it is relatively new for the criminal underworld in Leeds.

"They openly advertise that they are involved in the supply of drugs and the criminal use of firearms."

Mr Enoch asked: "Does that manifest itself on the walls of Chapeltown?"

The officer replied: "Yes."

The court was then shown a still image of a piece of graffiti on a wall outside Chapeltown Day Nursery, on Reginald Street.

The word 'Flock' could be seen written faintly despite attempts to remove it.

The court heard another example of the graffiti had been found on Back Harehills Avenue.

PC Crompton said: "The reason why 'Flock' appears on the walls is to do with territory.

"That is the part of Chapeltown where the majority of those people who have been convicted of associated offences of drug dealing and firearms are from - those streets."

The officer described how gangs in the area were often involved in operating drug dealing lines.

Heroin and crack cocaine is supplied on the streets to drug users who contact a mobile phone run by the gang.

The officer described the activity as a "resilient business model".

He said: "We have had some cases in this court where lines make up to £5,000 per day."

The officer identified a number of men who had been involved in drug and firearms offences that had been given long jail terms before the court and were Flock members.

Mr Enoch said: "What are they after these young men. What is it they want to get out of it?"

The officer replied: "Financial rewards. It is definitely a level of Kudos or status perceived among people's peers and social groups."

The prosecutor asked: "Are they organised in a group?"

PC Crompton replied: "We use the term 'organised crime group' - a group of people operating together to achieve a common purpose."

The officer was asked if "intense rivalries" developed between the groups.

He said: "Absolutely. I have seen it myself. If someone appears on the plot they are literally chased off."

Mr Enoch asked: "The kudos and status - is that sometimes reflected in social media?"

PC Crompton said: "Yes. We get afforded an insight in to people's lifestyles and how they want to be perceived on social media."

The prosecutor asked: "If someone is posing in front of a flash car with dozens of designer bags in front of them what does that mean?"

The officer answered: "That they are earning a lot of money."

Denzil Brown (Senior), 49, of Parkfield Court, Morley; Steven Grey, 38, of Town Atreet, Armley, and Jonathan Gledhill, 38, of Dib Lane, Roundhay, plead not guilty to murder.

Browne (Junior), of Oaklands Crescent, Gipton, Owen Clarke, of Haw Avenue, Yeadon, and Lewis Pearce, 27, of no fixed address, plead not guilty to assisting an offender.

The trial continues.