19 Sep 2012

Violent crime: hand grenades on Britain’s streets

Following the killing of two Greater Manchester police officers in a gun and grenade attack, Channel 4 News looks at the use of hand grenades in violent crimes in Britain.

Dale Cregan has been arrested and is being questioned in connection with the deaths of policewomen Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone.

In separate incidents in Manchester, David Short died from multiple gunshot wounds and blast injuries from a grenade during an attack on his house in the Clayton area of Manchester on 10 August.

Ten minutes after Mr Short’s body was discovered, a house in Droylsden was also hit by gunfire and an explosion caused by a grenade. No-one was hurt.

Two men have been charged with David Short’s murder. Cregan is also being questioned about these attacks.

The grenades used in Clayton and Droylsden were made in the former Yugoslavia. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have not given details about the device used to kill Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone.


There are no national statistics on violent crimes involving grenades, but the Associaton of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and GMP say their use is rare.

An Acpo spokeman told Channel 4 News: “The use of grenades or similar explosive devices in the UK on the mainland is unusual and we are not aware of any intelligence to suggest it is a growing problem.”

The last time grenades hit the headlines was in July 2009, when a device was left on the wall of the home of former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish in Southport, Merseyside.

Jailed for life

The target was not Mr Dalglish, but a wealthy businessman who lived nearby, and the men responsible were jailed for life in March for a series of gun and grenade attacks in Merseyside.

The criminal gang, led by Kirk Bradley and Anthony “Fat Tony” Downes, did not kill anyone, but according to the Liverpool Echo, succeeded in “turning Merseyside into the grenade attack capital of the UK”.

There were seven grenade incidents in Merseyside between May 2009 and March 2010, four of which have been attributed to the gang.

These included the incident at Mr Dalglish’s home, involving a British Army-issue L109 hand grenade which did not explode, and an attack at a house in Huyton, during which another L109 was thrown through a window but failed to detonate.

The other incidents involved M75 hand genades from the former Yugoslavia. One attack, at a house in Huyton, caused an explosion, but no-one was hurt.

During the other, an M75 was thrown at a house in the same street as Kenny Dalglish’s home and expoded in mid-air.


It was fortunate no-one was injured or killed in these attacks. On one occasion, a grenade was thrown into a room where a woman was sleeping. Before another incident, a man, his partner and two chilldren were asleep at home.

There were three other grenade attacks during a 10-month period, but the gang was not convicted of these offences, all of which involved M75s.

In one of these, the fly-off lever from an M75 was found at a property in Stockbridge Village after it had been bombed.