AN ELUSIVE criminal who has been taunting police by commenting under his own wanted post on social media has been jailed for nine years for his role in a shooting as his accomplice received a 23-year sentence.

Officers published an appeal to find Hasriat Omar Khan on their social media platforms on Wednesday evening, the day before the 32-year-old was due in court for his role in a shooting that took place in Haslingden in 2017.

But Khan, who has been on the run and failed to show up to his trial and sentencing, has now surfaced online by responding to comments posted underneath the police appeal.

Speaking at Preston Crown Court, where Khan was sentenced in his absence, prosecutor Keith Sutton said: “Mr Khan is still at large though he has responded to a wanted poster of himself on social media. He is alive and well.”

Two other men, Kassam Nadeem, of no fixed address but originally from Bradford, and Louis Ojapah of Peel Street, Liverpool, were sentenced to 23 and seven years respectively for their roles in the gun-related incidents.

During the April trial, a jury was told how an innocent mum, Shabir Begum, was injured by flying glass after Nadeem fired a sawn-off shotgun at a family home in Richmond Road, Accrington, in June 2017.

It transpired that the target in the attack was Waheed Hussain, Ms Begum’s son who lived at the same address and was said to have owed Nadeem a drug debt.

Ms Begum was admitted to hospital for three days after the attack, with Judge Heather Lloyd saying the family have been left ‘scared to live in their own home’ ever since.

Prosecutors also said around a month earlier Nadeem had been involved in a similar offence at a house in Beaconsfield Road, Haslingden. A jury found him not guilty of firing the gun in that instance but he was guilty of a conspiracy charge.

This time around it was said to have been Khan who recruited a gunman to settle a drug debt he had with a man named Hafizur Rahman.

But the gunman bungled the shooting and instead targeted the man’s brother’s home.

Before this incident Mr Rahman had received threatening phone calls from Ojapah.

Three other men suspected to have been involved in the shooting plot were found not guilty.

Sentencing the three men, Judge Heather Lloyd said the behaviour that had been demonstrated was ‘petrifying and extremely dangerous’.

She said: “Illegal weapons on the streets are a great threat to society. When they are used in a drug-related conflict they often can quickly escalate and spiral out of control.

“Your victims were innocent family members of those with whom you or someone else had dealings.

“You three have had no concerns about your victims or other entirely innocent people were on the street when the shooting took place.

“It must be miserable for those having to endure these goings-on as they try to live life as law-abiding citizens.

“Such illegal weapons on the street are a grave danger to society.”

Sentencing Nadeem to 23 years, she said: “You were the hired man who travelled from Bradford to East Lancs to use a sawn-off shot gun.

“In both instances, you either used or had in your possession a genuinely lethal weapon. It was loaded and fired on two separate occasions, four weeks apart in different locations.”

Sentencing Khan, of Moorland View, Edenfield, she said: “There can be no mitigation at all. He was the person who wanted a gunman to sort out his debt.

“He is a violent man and he is now wanted on warrant.

“Any person who knows how to source a gunman is in my view a dangerous offender. When he is apprehended he will be brought before this court.”

Anyone with information about Khan’s whereabouts is urged to contact the police on 101.