A man from Scotland who attempted to buy a gun and ammunition online and searched the web for details of a school shooting and primary school holidays has been sentenced.
Following an operation by the Organised Crime Partnership, a team of officers from the National Crime Agency and Police Scotland, James Maxwell, 28, from Leven in Fife, was arrested in January 2023 and charged with two counts of purchasing and attempting to acquire and possess a firearm and two counts of purchasing and attempting to acquire or possess ammunition.
Maxwell had attempted to source a firearm and hollow point bullets online.
When OCP investigators made checks on his phones they found that he had searched the web for ‘Dunblane’, ‘primary schools in Glasgow’, ‘and ‘when do schools break up for Christmas holidays’.
Maxwell pleaded guilty to the firearms offences on 21 September at Edinburgh High Court. He also admitted making an indecent image of a child and possession of extreme pornographic images.
He was sentenced to five years in prison with an extended four year license period at the same court today (26 October).
NCA Scotland Branch Commander Rob Miles said: “That Maxwell was researching school shootings and term dates while trying to obtain a deadly weapon and ammunition is deeply sinister and disturbing.
“This operation has removed a dangerous individual from the community, and we work tirelessly to protect the public from the trade in illegal firearms.”
Police Scotland Detective Chief Inspector Stevie Elliott said: “James Maxwell was willing to risk the safety of the public by bringing a deadly weapon into the country.
“His activities were brought to light during an intelligence-led operation by the Organised Crime Partnership and I want to thank all those involved for bringing him to justice.
“The illegal acquisition and possession of firearms will not be tolerated in Scotland and any such crime will be thoroughly investigated. The public can be reassured that the OCP will use every tool and tactic at their disposal to tackle organised crime in Scotland.
“This sentence underlines our commitment to the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce and the country’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy.”
Sineidin Corrins, Deputy Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said: “James Maxwell has been prosecuted in the High Court in relation to a number of very serious offences by trying to import a handgun and ammunition into Scotland.
“This weapon could have been used for devastating purposes. But thanks to the work of law enforcement agencies and close collaboration with COPFS, this gun was removed from criminal circulation and the accused will now spend a significant period in prison as a result of his criminal actions.”