Two Manchester men – including one who went on the run for three months – have been found guilty of firearms offences and jailed for six years each following an NCA investigation.

Aqeel Ilyas, aged 22, and Salman Gull, aged 24, were sentenced today (Monday 21 January) at Manchester Crown Court. Both had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Gull went on the run after the incident in July 2018, fleeing to Pakistan. He was arrested when he returned to Manchester on a flight from Lahore in October.

On 28 July last year at 9.30pm, Ilyas and Gull were seen driving a white VW Passat in the area of Allama Iqbal Road in Oldham.

The vehicle was followed but unbeknown to officers a firearm and ammunition was thrown out of the car window near the Fiddlers Green pub, Alexandra Terrace, off the A6 Stockport Road, Levenshulme.

The firearm was found by a member of the public and handed in.

NCA officers arrested Ilyas at his home the following month and Gull after he landed at Manchester Airport in October.

Andrew Etherington, NCA Operations Manager, said: “This was an extremely serious offence whereby a firearm was thrown from a car as it drove down a busy road.

“We know that firearms are strongly linked to criminal gangs who use them to enforce control and ultimately fuel serious violence.

“Every gun we take off the street will protect the public. We will continue to target those who use guns and disrupt their criminal activity.”