It was one of Scotland's most notorious and violent turf wars that shocked the nation for decades.

The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars saw a vicious feud between criminals, resulting in a fire that killed six innocent people, including an 18-month-old boy.

The feud was over ice cream routes, with the brightly coloured vans linked to sinister criminals dealings across the city.

Now a new two-part BBC documentary will reveal - for the first time - the untold stories of the vicious gang war that led to one of Scotland's most infamous miscarriages of justice and a crime that remains unsolved to this day.

The Ice Cream Wars will use archive, first-hand testimony and high-end dramatic reconstruction to tell the story of the gangland battle.

What were the Ice Cream Wars?

Doyle house in Ruchazie Glasgow where six of the family perished in Ice Cream Wars murders
Doyle house in Ruchazie Glasgow where six of the family were killed in Ice Cream Wars murders 

In the 1980s, ice cream vans were used to sell items such toilet paper, bread and milk as many city housing estates were not close to any supermarkets.

They were hugely helpful in new estates in the East End which had no infrastructure or nearby shops.

But criminals soon found that they could also be used to sell illegal items such as drugs and weapons without attracting too much attention..

Using ice cream vans to peddle drugs became more and more profitable, leading to gangsters becoming protective over their patches.

Gangs used violence to defend their territory and ice cream van routes from other groups of criminals. Drivers who wanted no part of it were targeted, too.

One such driver was Andrew Doyle, nicknamed "Fat Boy", who was just 18 years old while the conflict was going on.

Andrew Doyle being helped from house by firemen 

The driver, who worked for the Marchetti brothers, refused to be intimidated into selling drugs, even after he was shot at through his windscreen by an unidentified criminal.

As Andrew continued to refuse, gangsters drenched the front door of the Doyle family home in petrol and set it alight at 2am on April 16, 1984, leading to a fire which took six lives of the nine present.

James Doyle, 53, his daughter Christina Halleron, 25, her 18-month-old son Mark and three of James’ sons - James, 23, Tony, 14, and ice cream van driver Andrew - were all killed in the blaze.

How did the Ice Cream Wars end?

The Ice Cream Wars murders have been considered a huge miscarriage of justice as the crime remains unsolved to this day.

Strathclyde Police were heavily criticised, and even labelled “Serious Chimes Squad” for their failure to address the awful crimes.

After initial inaction, several arrests were made and six people were eventually charged and convicted for offences related to the gang crimes.

However, two innocent men were convicted of murdering the Doyle family and spent two decades behind bars.

Ice cream van in the night
It is still not known who set fire to the Doyle family home. 

Joe Steele and Thomas ‘TC’ Campbell were found guilty of the murders as a witness claims he heard the two discussing how they would teach Andrew Doyle a lesson by setting fire to his house.

Thomas Campbell also confessed, and allegedly said to police: "I only wanted the van windaes shot up. The fire at Fat Boy's was only meant to be a frightener which went too far."

Campbell later said that he was “fitted up” and was told to testify in exchange for staying out of jail.

The police also said that there was a A–Z street map of Glasgow found in Campbell’s flat, and the Doyle house in Bankend St was marked with an X.

Campbell and Steele’s convictions were overturned in 2004 at the Court of Appeal after 20 years of campaigns.

It is still not known who set fire to the Doyle family home.

Before his death in 2019, Thomas Campbell called for a fresh investigation of the murder of the Doyle family, and has accused crime boss Tam McGraw of the murders.

The Ice Cream Wars will form part of BBC Scotland’s autumn schedule. Details will be announced nearer the time.