Court bans Birmingham gang members from meeting or appearing in music videos

Eighteen men from two notorious crime gangs have been banned from associating with each other or participating in music videos that promote gang-related violence following a landmark court ruling.

The action was taken against the men - who are suspected of being involved in gun and drug crime - following around 20 firearms offences involving gangs in Birmingham during the summer of 2015 and start of 2016.

West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council secured full injunctions against the 18 men in what is believed to be the largest group gang injunction ever secured.

The men, who are aged between 19 and 29, are forbidden from associating with each other and also from entering areas of Birmingham, including the city centre, Handsworth, Newtown, Winson Green and Lozells for the next two years.

Another condition of the injunctions is that they are banned from participating in music videos that may promote or support gang-related violence.

The injunctions were granted last month after more than 80 witnesses gave evidence at Birmingham Crown Court and also allow police to restrict the vehicles and mobile phones they use.

The men are members of the Burger Bar Boys and Johnson Crew gangs, according to reports.

Police and the council previously secured interim injunctions following a spate of gun and drug-related crime in the city during 2015.

Detective Sergeant Ian Comfort, lead detective from the force's CID prevent team, said: "We set out to disrupt and curtail gang activity following around 20 firearm offences involving Birmingham gangs during the summer of 2015 and into the start of 2016.

"We secured interim injunctions to reduce the violence and ensure the community had ongoing respite from the incidents. We also dealt swiftly with a number of subsequent breaches.

"This is relatively new legislation and we believe that securing final full injunctions on such a large number of gang members is a UK first.

"The injunctions are applied for in the civil court in addition to sentences handed out by the criminal court for offences.

"They are an additional measure to help control the offenders and keep the community safe.

"We have been working closely with Birmingham City Council and other agencies to secure these injunctions and we will continue to work with these men if they wish to turn their back on a gang lifestyle."

The men are Naasir Francis, 19, from Nechells, Baboucar Huma, 19, from Handsworth, Akeen Ivy-Foster, 20, from Springhill, Ravelle Hutchinson, 20, from Winson Green, Tesfa Bernard-Wheeler, 21, from Hockley, Rayani Sutherland, 21, from Aston, Omarni Bernard-Sewell, 21, from Selly Oak, Lawrence Morgan, 21, from Nechells, Jerome Jones, 21, from Erdington, Jerome Christie, 21, from Nechells, Reial Phillips, 21, from Winson Green, Ushane Jeffers, 23, from Newtown, Kayne Robinson, 23, from Springhill, Ashai Grey, 23, from Walsall, Jacob Brown, 24, from Handsworth, Cash Wallace, 24, from Winson Green, Ishmail Lee, 29, from Wolverhampton, and Isaac Duffus, 28, from Erdington.

The ban was welcomed by anti-gun campaigner Marcia Shakespeare, whose 17-year-old daughter Letisha was shot dead in a drive-by shooting during a turf war between the two gangs.

Letisha had been at a party with friends when she and cousin Charlene Ellis, 18, were killed in a hail of machine gun bullets in the early hours of January 2 2003.

Charlene's twin sister Sophie and cousin Cheryl Shaw were also hit but survived.

Four men were jailed in connection with the killings.

Mrs Shakespeare described the gangs as "vermin" who should be smashed by "any means".

She said: "It's a big shock to still see so many young people involved in gangs.

"The information presented by the police and city council identifies how important gang injunctions are.

"I welcome any resources which can help tackle the spread of gangs, guns and drugs.

"I see gangs as vermin in Birmingham and any means to help stop it spreading to vulnerable, naive and innocent young people is a positive way forward in our war on violent crime.

"Because as I have said, time and time again, violent crime has no winners.

"It just causes heartache, pain and has a life-changing impact on innocent victims and the perpetrators' families."