IT was like a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster.

A successful businessman is kidnapped in his home at gunpoint in front of his terrified family and held to ransom by his abductors who demand £2.5 million for his safe return.

However, this wasn’t Beverly Hills in Los Angles but Crossmyloof on the South Side of Glasgow.

The victim wasn’t some high-profile billionaire industrialist but a humble newsagent and shopkeeper Javed Mukhtar.

His abduction, the longest in British criminal history, began on the last Friday of September 2006 and ended 25 days later.

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Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

The 58-year -old was preparing to go to bed in his £400,000 bungalow home in Shawmoss Road which he shared with his wife, three sons and daughter-in-law when there was a knock at the door.

He and his family had just finished praying together during Ramadan and Javed got up to his feet to answer.

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Former soldier Darren Wright, 31, and ex-Royal Marine Peter Haining, 28, burst into the hall, armed with Russian automatic handguns fitted with silencers.

Haining also had a machine gun strapped to his chest. Both wore balaclavas and dark military-style clothing.

They grabbed a terrified Javed who was in his nightwear and bundled him into a white van.

Haining also fired a warning shot from his automatic weapon – a moment caught on the family’s CCTV system.

The gang then sped off down Haggs Road towards the M8 in a van driven by 23-year-old Craig Adams.

Petrified Javed was hooded, handcuffed and shackled in irons, then taken 200 miles by road to Manchester.  He was held in three houses in the Heywood area over the next month.

The gang’s demands were relayed to his family from Northern Ireland by an ex-paramilitary Leslie White, 65.

But an underworld tip-off meant police were soon on their trail and secretly filming their movements.

Police also bugged the family’s phones so they could listen to the gang’s ransom demands.

Undercover cops watched White use a phonebox in Lurgan, Armagh, to make calls to Javed’s home and his shop in Rutherglen. Those brief calls were the only proof his family had that he was still alive.

Three days into the kidnap Javed’s elder brother and business partner Anwar Mukhtar appealed for his safe return.

Glasgow Times:

He said they had come to Scotland more than 30 years ago and have owned shops in the Rutherglen area for about 20 years including a newsagent on Farmloan Road where both worked.  He said: “If I am in trouble, he is always the first person there to help me. He is in this shop seven days a week, he works hard. The family is broken by this, we don’t know what has happened or what to do.”

Mohammed Sarwar, the then Labour MP for Glasgow Central, and father of Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, said he had known Javed for 35 years and also appealed for his safe return.

The kidnap investigation, codenamed Operation Star, was one of the biggest ever carried out by police in Scotland.

Around 800 officers from Strathclyde, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Northern Ireland police forces worked with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency and the Serious Organised Crime Agency to nail the gang.

Eventually, a £400,000 ransom was left in a case at Charnock Richard service station, on the M6 in Chorley, Lancashire.

It was collected by 19-year-old Ian Rosales, 19, at around 10pm on October 24. He was unaware the case was bugged with a tracking device.

Hours later, a van drove Javed to Warrington, where he was dumped in a lane just after 2am.

Police then swooped to arrest all six of the gang members before they had time to split the ransom cash which was recovered as well as the gang’s guns.

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At the High Court in Glasgow in June the following year the six men were jailed for a total of 43 years.

Ex-green beret Haining was given the longest sentence of 12 years and six months. Wright, a former Royal Artillery bombardier who was the gang’s leader, was handed 11 years and three months.

David Smith, 37, got five years and three months, while Ian Rosales, 19, got three years. All came from Heywood, Greater Manchester.

Glasgow Times:

Leslie White, 65, of Craigavon,Co Armagh, who did most of the negotiating from the phone boxes in Northern Ireland, was given six years. Craig Adams, 23, of Bury, got four years and 10 months. All six pleaded guilty.

It was then revealed that White had a string of previous convictions including an eight-year jail term for armed robbery.

Wright had entered a plea of diminished responsibility, claiming post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in Afghanistan. He get two years taken off his sentence after he was also found to be suffering bipolar disorder and depression.

So why had a gang from England and Ireland come all the way to Glasgow to commit this apparently motiveless crime?

Wright told trial judge Lord Hodge, at a special hearing into his mental state, that “dangerous people” had employed them and that they were so dangerous he could not identify them.

He alleged their target was another Akhtar family member who he claimed was involved in a  multi-million pound VAT scam.  However, no proof was provided to back up his claims and the  family denied any of them was ever involved in fraud. Another theory is that the abduction was a case of mistaken identity and they went to the wrong house and got the wrong man.

After the sentence, Mr Mukhtar said: “These people deserve long imprisonment and I am quite happy justice has been done.”

Detective Superintendent William Prendergast who led the investigation also commented: “The man’s life was in the balance.

 “They were armed to the teeth and they were determined that they were going to get vast amounts of money.

“It is a testament to his character that he managed to come through that.”

In 2013, Channel Five broadcast an interview with Haining who blamed his crime on the loss of his job with the Royal Marines.

The ‘Battle Scarred’ series was investigating the trend of  ex-servicemen ending up behind bars and appeared only a few months after Mr Mukhtar had died from pneumonia.

Haining said: “I was trained by the Royal Marines and I used those skills in a paramilitary operation to commit a serious offence.

“I took a man against his own free will. Who was I to do that?  “I wanted that adrenaline rush that I was getting as I was serving as a Royal Marine and me  doing what I did gave me that adrenaline.”

George Barnsley, then a Detective Inspector with the Strathclyde Serious Crime Squad, was a key member of the investigation team 15 years ago.

He retired in 2010 at the rank of Superintendent after 32 years of police service and now works as an advisor on TV crime dramas like Shetland, Deadwater Fell and In Plain Sight.

George led a team of detectives who were sent down to Manchester to detain the six-strong  kidnap gang and get Mr Mukhtar to safety.

Once the money had been left and the shopkeeper released firearms officers from Greater Manchester Police ‘hard stopped’ three cars the six men were travelling in.

The Glasgow cops then arrested and charged the gang before taking them back to Scotland in a  prison bus normally used for terrorists.

George said: “When we found Mr Mukhtar he was distressed but had not been mistreated.

“He had a heart condition and diabetes and there were concerns for his health so he was kept in hospital for a number of days.

“When the six men were interviewed back in Glasgow they immediately put their hands up to the kidnapping and appeared happy to talk about their roles.

“I don’t think there is any doubt they were working for someone else but they wouldn’t say who.”

George also now runs investigation training courses for local authorities and the Scottish Government.

He added: “In all my years as a detective it was the most unusual criminal inquiry I ever worked on.

“Kidnapping with ransom demands wasn’t something we were used to in Scotland.

“I don’t think there had ever been a case like it before or since.

“But thankfully it had the right outcome for both Mr Mukhtar and his family.”