Organised crime group members who turned blank-firing guns into live firearms before moving the lethal weapons on have been locked up for a combined 79 years.
A man ran a workshop in a garage at his home in Mansfield Woodhouse where he converted replica pistols into viable firearms and facilitated their onward supply.
The 41-year-old was arrested when armed cops searched his address in Marples Avenue, on 6 July 2021.
During the search they found 15 blank firearms, around 40 blank cartridges, an adapted lathe and drill press which could be used in the process of converting firearms, and metal shavings on and near the tools.
Investigators rumbled a wider criminal enterprise, with group members communicating with each other, and found that blank-firing guns were being turned into lethal live-firing weapons before being moved on to an address in Canver Close, Bilborough.
Two men were then involved in their onward movement. The pair moved a silencer in and out of a car at the address in April 2021.
One of the men returned on subsequent nights, placing a gun he’d taken from the address into a car, and later returned to the property with a handgun and other items.
He was supported by another man who was involved in facilitating the sale of the converted firearms.
Meticulous work on the investigation revealed even more men who were part of the wider conspiracy and led on the further storage, movement, and supply of firearms.
After a seven-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court, the jury returned with their verdicts.
Detective Inspector Mark Adas, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “This gang had an entire production line going, from sourcing and converting these blank-firing guns into viable deadly weapons, to selling them on to those who intended to use them.
"Rife with risk of harm throughout the process, it was imperative that we closed down the whole deadly operation.
"Through our extensive investigation we were able to identify the manufacture, storage, onward movement and supply of these firearms and ammunition across Nottingham and into London.
“This was clearly a resourceful and organised group whose criminal activities posed a serious threat, so I’m pleased our proactive work and detailed investigation has now resulted in significant prison sentences.
“I hope these sentences and our thorough work in this case sends a very clear warning to other criminals about the potential consequences of acquiring and trafficking firearms and endangering the public.”
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