There’s a new industry in town — manufacturing guns for local gangs
'What people think of as gangs is generally a stereotype they have got from London and the media'
Good morning readers — and welcome to Thursday’s Tribune.
We don’t often cover crime stories here at The Tribune — and we certainly wouldn’t the way many other publications do — but we’d be remiss to report on everything in Sheffield except crime. The seed for today’s story was a conversation between Dan and myself, in which we agreed we “really should do something about gun crime in Sheffield”. Between the two of us, I’d say we’ve made significant progress down the rabbit hole.
Editor’s note: As you may have seen, yesterday we announced some very important news. The Tribune along with its sister titles in Manchester and Liverpool have successfully raised £350,000 to expand our model to more cities in the UK. This is obviously great news, which will aid the renaissance of high quality local journalism in the UK. But while the money is a massive vote of confidence for our member-funded approach, you can rest assured that it won’t change us. We’ll still be doing the same kind of thoughtful, nuanced, long-form journalism we always have. And we still need your support. Please join today.
🌳 Green Party councillors have called for Tramlines to be moved after this year’s event caused significant damage to Hillsborough Park. BBC Radio Sheffield report that the park won’t now fully open until October after heavy rain turned the park into a quagmire just days before the school holidays were due to begin. Hillsborough councillor Henry Nottage says the event should be moved for 2025. Fast forward to 1hr14min and 2hr14min for the two packages.
🏡 The Star report that two Liberal Democrat councillors have called for the Right to Buy scheme to be scrapped in Sheffield. Penny Baker and Mohammed Mahroof have tabled a motion for next week’s full council meeting they say would help protect the city’s council housing stock. They claim the scheme, which was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s, contributes to a shortfall of 902 affordable homes in Sheffield every year.
♟️ A nice piece on the BBC website about a former UKIP MEP who has set up a chess centre in his home city of Sheffield. Jonathan Arnott won in the North East of England for the party in 2014, and was once considered a possible successor for leader Nigel Farage. However, since retiring from politics, the candidate master (three steps below grandmaster) has re-devoted himself to his first love, setting up the South Yorkshire Chess and Education Centre in Stradbroke.
Things to do
🎻 Now in its third year, Sheffield Showcase is a collaborative event involving over a dozen arts and culture groups based in the city. From Friday, 1 to Sunday, 3 September, the event will showcase the huge variety of cultural activity that takes place here, including film screenings, music performances, art exhibitions, family-friendly workshops and more. Highlights this year include the Hallam Sinfonia at St Mark’s in Broomhill playing Handel, Bach and Vivaldi (Friday), Art in the Gardens at the Botanical Gardens (Saturday and Sunday), and a community gardening session at Regather Farm (Sunday). For a full list of everything going on across the weekend, see the brilliant Our Favourite Places website.
🎸 If you fancy a last-minute festival, there are still a few tickets left for Rock and Roll Circus at Don Valley Bowl in Attercliffe this weekend. On Friday, 1 September, Noel Gallagher headlines supported by Happy Mondays, while on Saturday, local hero Self Esteem tops the bill. And on Sunday, iconic Sheffield superclub Gatecrasher brings the event to a close with an evening of euphoric dance music. Tickets are available for the full weekend or each individual day.
🪦 For a slight change of pace, visit Sheffield General Cemetery this Sunday, 3 September for a history tour of the amazing site. One of the first “landscape cemeteries”, the sprawling site tells the story of Sheffield between 1836 and 1978 and is rich in history, wildlife, geology and architecture. Two guided walks will take place on the day, one starting at 1.30pm and the other starting at 2pm. Tickets are priced £5. For our piece on the cemetery click here.
There’s a new industry in town – manufacturing guns for local gangs
By Victoria Munro and Dan Hayes
It’s 10pm, a quiet Sunday in early July, and a Burngreave family are piling into their car. One second they’re fussing with keys and car doors, the next, their father is lying bleeding on the pavement. A gunman hiding in the alleyway between two houses had come out just as the family was leaving and shot the man in the knee. Now he makes his way calmly to his own car and drives away.
Almost two months later, I’m sitting just a little way down Malton Street from where the attack took place, with a man who describes himself as the police’s main witness. At the time, he was waiting for a pizza delivery, looking out of his front window every few seconds to see if his food had arrived. He tells me the shooter emerged out of nowhere. “He didn’t even say a word, I just heard ‘bang’.”
He ran out to help and was confronted by a horrific scene. He remembers being handed a scarf by one of the victim’s daughters to make a tourniquet and, a few seconds later, a nurse who also lives on the street telling him to pull it “as tight as he could”. What did his leg look like, I ask him. “It was just a hole,” he says. “It was hanging off. The bone was the only thing that was holding it on.”
The neighbour points in the direction of a dark patch on the pavement nearby, a stain from where the man’s blood pooled in the street. My stomach lurches. The man’s wife and four children, two of them below 10 years old, all witnessed the shooting and its bloody aftermath. “It’s his kids I feel sorry for,” the man adds.
The witness, who doesn't want to give me his name, lives in a brick terrace typical of the Burngreave area. Since I arrived I’ve seen kids playing football and scooting around what seems like a quiet residential road. Further up, a family were playing with their new French bulldog puppy. An ice cream van even turns up while I’m there. Everyone I speak to tells me it’s mostly a trouble-free street, making what took place all the more shocking.
Another neighbour tells me she heard the shot as she was walking down the nearby Ellesmere Road North on her way home. As she turned the corner, she saw the man on the floor just a few doors down from her house and called an ambulance immediately.
After the shooting, everyone had an agonising wait for the emergency services to arrive. A group of armed policemen arrived pretty quickly but the ambulance didn’t show for around 25 minutes. He’s lucky to be alive, I say. “He really is,” she agrees, “because he bled quite a lot. He kept on trying to get up, I don’t think he realised how bad it was.” South Yorkshire Police revealed a month later that the leg had to be amputated.
The woman tells me she’s lived in the Burngreave area all her life, and as such is well aware of its reputation for the occasional flare-up of violence. She says the victim has had what she describes as “some trouble before”, but is wary about assuming too much before all the details have come out. But you don't need to be a detective to know that the shooting was a targeted attack. “You don’t go around shooting people’s kneecaps off for a laugh,” she adds.