A self-described ‘gun nut’ who manufactured his own powerful firearms from scratch from his home workshop in Havering has been jailed.
Raymond Frederick Nugent, 73, cut cardboard templates before pressing metal to create the weapons, and even designed his own firing mechanisms.
But he was caught after a tip-off from the National Crime Agency (NCA) led detectives to discover the cache, which he had been building over many years.
Nugent (14.02.49) of Coltishall Road, Hornchurch, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 20 January, to seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
He had been found guilty at an earlier hearing of 45 firearms offences.
The NCA alerted the Met after intelligence revealed that Nugent had imported a blank firing weapon from the Czech Republic.
In November 2018 a warrant was executed under the Firearms Act at his home and officers discovered a number of safes. Inside they found batches of firearms and ammunition that had been carefully wrapped and stored.
Nugent was arrested and taken for interview at an east London police station as police continued to search the address.
Even from initial inspection it was apparent to specialist officers at the scene that he was in possession of viable firearms. They were seized and taken for examination.
Incredibly several of these were items Nugent had made from scratch himself at his workshop, using drills and vices to create weapons fully capable of firing. An expert pointed out during the trial that one weapon Nugent had produced was in fact 25% more powerful than a factory-produced firearm of similar calibre and style.
Also among the cache were a number of deactivated weapons that had been re-activated, while others – including a stun gun, an Italian Bruni (BBM) Model ME .38calibre revolver and a Turkish Atak 914- self-loading 9mm pistol – had been converted to fire. He had also converted blank ammunition that could be fired.
During interview Nugent described himself as ‘a gun nut’, but said that he had had no intention of firing or selling the weapons.
He was bailed and then later released under investigation while further enquiries were conducted.
He was charged by postal requisition in October 2019.
Detective Superintendent Victoria Sullivan, Specialist Crime, said: “Though no evidence was found of any associated criminality linked to Nugent’s activities, the arsenal he had in his possession was lethal and, in the wrong hands, quite capable of causing incredibly serious harm.
“It’s thanks to quick and decisive partnership working with our colleagues in the National Crime Agency, who alerted us to Nugent, that we’ve been able to bring him to justice here.
“These efforts were recognised by the judge who commended our investigating officer.”
Detective Sergeant Andy Henderson, investigating officer, said: “This investigation demonstrates how we will seek to arrest and prosecute anyone concerned in the production of dangerous weapons.
“Following the conclusion of criminal proceedings the weapons will now be destroyed. It is sheer luck that Nugent himself managed to avoid serious injury during production; though some appear crude, it is a highly dangerous enterprise, and anyone concerned in similar activities should be well aware of the consequences.”
Charges in full
- Possession prohibited firearm
- Convert thing/ imitation thing into a firearm
- Possess a firearm of length less than 30cm/ 60cm – prohibited weapon
- Shorten shotgun barrel – less than 60.96cm/ 24 in
- Manufacture weapon/ ammunition specified in s5(1) of the Firearms Act 1968
- Possess ammunition for a firearm without a certificate
- Possess article for use in connection with conversion of imitation firearms