Mark Duggan 'among Europe's most feared and violent criminals' before his death sparked the 2011 riots

Inquest hears 29-year-old was actively involved in class A drug dealing and gun crime as part of his association with the Tottenham Mandem street gang

Mark Duggan was a core member of one of the most violent gangs in Europe – a group linked to two murders and numerous other shootings during a murderous feud with rivals – an inquest into his death has heard.

Mr Duggan was believed by police to be responsible for shooting a man in a nightclub and firing a gun in a car park in the months before he was fatally shot by armed officers, sparking the riots in 2011 that spread nationwide.

The 29-year-old was one of six members of the Tottenham Man Dem gang who were being watched during a four-day surveillance operation in August 2011, and was considered the man most likely to get a gun, according to documents and evidence on Monday.

The gang had links with Turkish gangs and was responsible for drug distribution in London, a senior officer told the inquest. TMD were “undoubtedly the most prominent criminals in London” with a “propensity to use firearms and extreme violence”, according to the documents shown to the jury.

“They were considered the most violent people in London, outside London and stretching across Europe,” Acting Detective Superintendent Michael Foote told the hearing at the High Court. He said Mr Duggan was among the core of 48 members of the 100-strong gang and was involved in gun crime, the supply of ammunition and class-A drugs.

“They were involved in a number of murders, attempted murders and conflict with other organised criminal gangs from opposing areas,” he said.

The Tottenham gang was involved in a long-running feud with rival Hackney gangs and had a history of robbing other drug dealers.

The gang operated across London, the Home Counties and beyond, and officers had recovered guns, ammunition and large quantities of class-A drugs, according to the documents.

The Metropolitan Police set up Operation Dibri in 2008 to target the gang members after a surge in gun violence linked to the group.

Intelligence received by police in January 2011 indicated that Mr Duggan had shot someone at a nightclub. Reports the following month suggested that he had fired shots in a nightclub car park. Two months before he died, reports suggested that he was storing drugs at his home and was intent on getting hold of a gun, said Mr Foote, who was in charge of the gun crime unit for northwest London.

An intelligence report from 2011 shown to the jury indicated that Mr Duggan and other members had been involved in shootings and had now moved up the criminal hierarchy and were in a position to orchestrate criminal activity. “Intelligence suggests they have access to firearms and are prepared to use them,” according to the report. Mark Duggan’s criminal record included only one minor drugs offence and one of handling stolen goods for which he was fined a total of £280. There was an earlier caution for a public order offence. But a July police intelligence report suggested that he was a “long-standing senior member” of TMD and there was a “wealth of current reliable intelligence” suggesting that he had ready access to firearms.

Mr Duggan was also said by police to have aggressively confronted officers when stopped in Tottenham. Further intelligence suggested that he had had a Beretta handgun which he kept at his girlfriend Simone’s house. But Mr Foote accepted the intelligence was of a quality similar to someone overhearing a conversation in a pub.

The inquest has heard that the two most contentious issues that the jury will have to decide was whether Mr Duggan was armed at the time and whether the police shooting was “absolutely necessary”.

The inquest continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'