Criminals from Salford who organised the murder of Paul Massey have sponsored a new gang war in Warrington over an unpaid drug debt, it has been claimed.

Warrington has been rocked by a spate of serious police incidents this year including two shootings and an improvised explosive device left in a front garden.

On January 11 a former boxer was shot at in a residential street. The convicted drug dealer was targeted as he made his way into a house on Monks Place.

The man was not hurt but the incident, which happened near a children's play area, caused upset among locals.

On February 25 a car was set on fire twice in a single night near a pub on Bewsey Road.

Then, on April 15, an improvised explosive device was left in a front garden on Birtles Road in the Orford area.

The bomb squad was called out and carried out a controlled explosion on the device.

Police said the targeted incident was linked to serious organised crime.

In April a man in his 50s was shot and seriously injured in a Warrington street. Two men have since been charged with attempted murder.

The ECHO has been told that a faction of extremely violent criminals from Salford who organised the murder of Massey are responsible for the serious violence in Warrington.

It has been claimed that a well known criminal from Warrington owes the Salford faction a large amount of money due to an unpaid drug debt.

A woman who claimed to know the Warrington drug dealer at the centre of the dispute claimed his family was living in fear and described the Salford criminals as 'psychos'.

She claimed the criminals no longer wanted the drug debt and now wanted 'blood' and that associates of the drug dealer had even been targeted within the prison system.

She claimed that in one incident a Warrington criminal had boiling water thrown over his face at Altcourse prison as part of the same dispute.

A second trusted source claimed a criminal from Warrington owed drug dealers from Salford a large sum of money.

They said some money had been paid to criminals from Salford after the shooting in Monks Place in an attempt to appease them.

Paul Massey, 55, died in a machine gun attack outside his Salford home on the evening of July 26, 2015.

Salford 'Mr Big' Paul Massey
Salford 'Mr Big' Paul Massey

The gangland murder sent shockwaves through Salford and beyond and Mark Fellows was later found guilty of the murder and jailed for life.

The rich and powerful drug dealer who organised Massey's murder is now said to be directly behind the recent violence in Warrington.

The ECHO put the claims to Cheshire police.

Tom Duffy's gangland tales

In response, Superintendent Martin Cleworth said: “Over the past two years we have been relentless in disrupting serious and organised crime in Warrington.

“This is evident in the significant number of people who have been convicted. At least four organised crime gangs involving up to 50 people have been sentenced for a total of 540 years.

“Our hard work to pursue those involved in organised crime and protect the community continues as we execute warrants, make arrests and seize drugs.

“We are working alongside our partners in the community and remain committed to making the town a safer place.

“Information from the public is vital and we will act on information provided to us and encourage you to report it on 101 or via our website https://www.cheshire.police.uk/. If you do not want to speak to an officer directly you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”