A FORMER drugs gang boss was the victim of an early morning shooting.

Neil Strong is being treated in Fairfield General Hospital after the incident in Harris Drive, Unsworth.

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

Neil Strong

Police said the shooting is being treated as a targeted attack.

Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and there are increased police patrols in the area.

Officers arrived at the scene shortly before 9am after residents reported hearing gun shots.

Mr Strong was shot in the upper part of his body and is believed to have driven himself to Fairfield General Hospital.

A grey van, with a damaged front tyre and a passenger window that appeared to have been shot out, was found parked askew outside the hospital’s main entrance. The vehicle was cordoned off by police and two police vehicles were guarding it.

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

The van at at Fairfield Hospital

Strong, who is originally from Prestwich and is in his mid-thirties, is said to be in a serious condition.

Chief Insp Phil Spurgeon of Bury police said: “Our investigation remains in its early stages but I can confirm that from the information we have, we are treating this as a targeted attack, and there is not believed to be any wider threat to the community."

Increased patrols and dedicated armed response officers are patrolling the area.

Chief Insp Spurgeon urged residents to speak with officers if they have any worries or concerns.

Speaking on Monday morning, Chief Insp Spurgeon said: “I understand that this incident will cause concern in the community, but I want to reassure local people that we are responding as a matter of priority.

“We currently have police at the scene and in the nearby area carrying out enquiries and searching for the people responsible for this shocking incident.

“Our investigation is in its early stages and we have a team of detectives working to establish the full circumstances of exactly what has happened, but I would ask that anybody with information contacts police immediately.”

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

Police at Fairfield Hospital.

A Landrover was blown up in the same street in 2016, which police described at the time as a “targeted attack”.

It is not yet known whether this is being linked with the shooting.

Strong headed a gang who set up a dugs lab in the garage of a house in Woodvale Road, Radcliffe.

He was sentenced to four years at Manchester Crown Court for conspiracy to supply amphetamine in February 2014.

On his release from prison, he was given a serious crime prevention order in April 2016.

This restricted his movements and banned him from having more than one mobile phone, laptop or tablet, and from carrying more than £3,000 in cash.

He was also ordered to give notice of any planned trip abroad and had to provide details of any vehicle he rented or bought.

The three entrances to Harris Drive, a quiet suburban street, were cordoned off and guarded by the police. The drive remained closed until shortly before lunchtime.

The site of the shooting is just one road away from Mersey Drive Primary School which put out a statement on Twitter reassuring parents that the school was operating as usual.

The school stated: "Following an incident that took place this morning we would like to reassure you that school is unaffected.

"Pupils and staff are all safe. However, there will be extra police presence in the area today.

"We have been advised that road closures are expected at the top end of Harris Drive and on Cunningham Drive.

"Please allow extra time if collecting your child by car."

Anybody with information should contact police on 0161 856 8172 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.