March 25, 2022 4.00 pm

Lincoln men jailed for “burglary gone wrong” that ended with victim dying

Two men from Blackpool jailed too

Four men, including two from Lincoln, have been jailed for a combined total of more than 40 years after burgling a businessman who sadly died in Heywood near Rochdale.

Police were called to reports of a burglary at around 11.15pm on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, with Greater Manchester Police then launching Operation Orchid, an investigation into the death of 49-year-old Peter Cordwell.

Peter died after trying to protect a storage unit he owned at Collop Gate Farm in Heywood from being burgled. The storage units were rented out by Peter to a number of different businesses in the area.

Fearing for their lives, father-of-three Peter drove away from the scene with his son and a security guard. Sadly, Peter suffered a heart attack and died nearby, while the defendants fled the scene.

These four men were jailed for a combined total of over 40 years. | Photo: Greater Manchester Police

Four men appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, and all pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and conspiracy to burgle. The sentences were as follows:

  • Ahmad Mirza, 35, of Norris Street in Lincoln was sentenced to 11 years in prison
  • Kurdistan Hamid, 40, of Norris Street in Lincoln, was jailed for 11 years and eight months
  • Saman Ali, 31, of Belmont Avenue in Blackpool was sentenced to 11 years in prison
  • Ali Karimi, 38, of Fir Grove in Blackpool was jailed for 11 years

Peter Cordwell died after in a burglary at his business on October 28, 2020.

The court heard how on the evening of October 28, 2020, police received a call from a security guard at the farm, who reported a group of eight men attempting to break into one of the secure storage containers. This container was later discovered to contain around £800,000 worth of counterfeit cigarettes.

The gang removed the locked gates into the farm and drove into two vehicles. On being alerted to the break in, Peter drove to the scene in an attempt to thwart the offender.

Also in attendance was Peter’s son who blocked the exit of the unit before he and the security guard were violently attacked. They sought to seek refugee in Peter’s car, which was also attacked with the defendants smashing the windscreen with weapons. Peter then tried to drive away from the scene but sadly suffered a fatal heart attack.

A number of enquires were carried out by a team of detectives from Greater Manchester Police’s Challenger and Major Incident Units. This included telephone enquiries, ANPR checks, media appeals and identification parades and, after this, the defendants were arrested and charged.

SIO Duncan Thorpe, of the Serious Crime Division, said: “This was a burglary gone wrong, which tragically concluded with an innocent man later losing his life and our thoughts are very much with Peter’s loved ones.

“The defendants formed part of a national organised crime group who would sell counterfeit cigarettes before then locating where they had been stored by the buyer and stealing them back into their possession.

“The violence they used towards the victims that evening was deplorable and shows their ruthless and dangerous mind set.

“We have been committed from day one in ensuring that these people faced justice and we will continue to crack down on organised crime in Greater Manchester”.