A gun maker who used a 3D printer to manufacturer deadly weapons using equipment he bought over the internet has been jailed for five years, following the first discovery of its kind in the region.
David Biddell-Portman’s house was visited by police for a routine visit after he legally bought a blank-firing pistol and 50 rounds of 8mm of ammunition in December, 2020.
David Biddell Portmans was visited by police after information was passed from the National Crime Agency’s National Firearms Targeting Centre.
They were let in by a relative, but Biddell-Portman wasn’t in. Officers searched his bedroom and found two assault rifles in a wardrobe. In an upstairs cupboard, they found a 3D printer used to produce the weapons and a cassette of plastic to print parts.
3D printers have legitimate uses to print out physical objects by laying down lots of layers of plastic. They can be used for everything from toys to jewellery and furniture.
But an examination found that the assault rifles had been printed on the machine, with steel parts added to them for key components which could not be made with plastic.
We examined Biddell-Portman’s electronic devices and found that he had downloaded software and other files, including instructions from an anti-gun control organisation, allowing him to print out the weapons.
In a tool box in his shed, we found bullets, metal gun parts and other 3D printed plastic parts for weapons.
Biddell-Portman, 30, of Neachley Grove, Kitts Green, pleaded guilty to two charges of manufacturing a firearm and was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today.
Det Insp Lisa Jackson, of our priorities team, said: “This is the first time we’ve recovered a 3D printed firearm in the West Midlands, and so is a really significant find for us.
“We still don’t know what Biddell-Portman had intended to do with the weapons. He told us he had an interest in the mechanics of guns.
“But the reality is that these were deadly weapons which were tested and shown to be capable of firing live ammunition, which could have had deadly consequences.
“We fully appreciate that 3D printers are growing in popularity, and have lots of legitimate uses.
“But people considering using them to manufacture deadly weapons must be put on notice that we will treat them as seriously as any other traditional firearm and they can expect to be given lengthy prison sentences as a result.”