Four men have been jailed for more than 60 years for operating a ‘firearms factory’ from an address in Birmingham where they manufactured lethal weapons for sale to criminal gangs across the country.
The firearms factory was being operated from a house in Shepherds Way, Erdington, where weapons including blank firing pistols were converted into live weapons to be sold to criminal gangs for use on our streets.
It was discovered following an investigation by our Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) which fights organised crime across our region.
At Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday (Dec 4) Aaron Anderson, 46, was sentenced to 22 years for conspiracy to supply firearms and conspiracy to supply ammunition.
James Paragon, aged 29, was sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy to supply firearms and conspiracy to supply ammunition. Both had been found guilty following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Reuben Keay, 28, had been jailed for 22 years back in April this year after being convicted of conspiracy to supply firearms and conspiracy to supply ammunition following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Eric Kitson had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply firearms and conspiracy to supply ammunition back in 2019 and was jailed at Stafford Crown Court in April for seven-and-a-half years.
The firearms factory was exposed after we stopped a taxi on Mansfield Road, Aston, on August 10, 2019.
We watched Keay leave his home and walk to the Shepherds Way address.
A short time later he left with a red carrier bag and walked back to his home address in Curlews Close. He then got into the rear of the taxi and left the bag on the back seat before getting out of the taxi a short time later.
We stopped the taxi and inside was Paragon. A red carrier bag was on the rear seat which contained firearms and ammunition. Paragon was arrested and taken into custody.
Officers then carried out a warrant in Shepherds Way, Erdington, where Anderson lived and arrested him.
We seized bags containing boxes of live and blank ammunition, booklets for firearms, a ‘gun case’ with no firearm but component parts and a bag containing a broken down blank firing pistol.
The ‘set up’ had all the equipment and materials required to convert blank firing weapons and construct homemade ammunition.
As a result of the weapons and ammunition being recovered this enabled the National Ballistics Intelligence Service to identify and link the items and the equipment recovered from Shepherds Way to eight additional recoveries of weapons and ammunition from other areas of Birmingham, Oxford and addresses in the Hampshire area.
The weapons and ammunition were the same type discovered at the address in Shepherds Way and proved that the address was being used as a firearms making factory.
Kitson’s DNA was also found on a gun and ammunition at an address in Bromford, Birmingham, linking him to the weapons conversion factory.
Chief Inspector Peter Cooke, from ROCU WM, said: “This was a significant seizure of weapons and ammunition which were being converted at the Erdington address. The four men have been jailed for more than 60 years and this sends out a clear message to criminals that we won’t tolerate organised crime in our region.
“This is part of our ongoing work to combat organised criminal activity including the manufacture and supply of weapons and ammunition across the West Midlands and this will carry on as part of Operation Target.