Two jailed for gun conversion factory in London

Two men responsible for buying blank firing handguns and converting them into live weapons were intercepted and arrested after a number of suspicious purchases were investigated by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Afzaal Ahmed, 26 (13.07.97) of Henderson Way, Kempston and David Watson, 29 (20.05.94) of Midland Court, Kempston appeared at Harrow Crown Court on Tuesday, 16 January 2024 where they were sentenced to a total of 19 years in prison.

They both pled guilty to the following firearm offences at an earlier hearing:

Afzaal Ahmed





















– Possession of one converted submachine gun to supply to another
– Possession of ammunition
– Conspiracy to convert blank firing pistols into firearms

Officer in charge of the case, PC Yahya Sayed, for Specialist Crime North said:“These men were part of a dangerous organised criminal network actively involved in the purchase and conversion of blank firing weapons and ammunition, capable of endangering and taking lives.

“I am pleased to see these men held accountable for their actions and to know that these lethal weapons have been removed from the streets of London and beyond.”

In June 2022, the Met became aware that Ahmed had purchased 14 blank firearms and accompanying ammunition from a dealership in London. Whilst the blank firearms were supplied by an authorised dealer, the volume of purchases within a short period of time raised officers’ suspicions.

An investigation was launched and officers discovered that Ahmed had also made a number of blank firearm purchases at two other dealerships in the Midlands and London.

On 16 June 2022, officers carried out a covert operation in order to monitor Ahmed’s movements. This is when they uncovered his connection to his accomplice David Watson.

Ahmed picked Watson up in his car, driving to various locations across Bedford. He and Watson were seen to enter a specific business address in Ampthill Road on several occasions. Watson was later seen to enter a lockup garage in Houghton Regis, before returning to Kempston and joining Ahmed.

As a result of the information gathered, both men were arrested by Bedfordshire Police firearms officers on the evening of 17 June at the address on Ampthill Road.

Officers’ recovered a converted Ekol ASI sub machine gun, loaded with live ammunition, and two converted Retay self-loading pistols, both loaded with live ammunition, in a caravan at the back of the compound on Ampthill Road, Kempston.

The lockup garage in Houghton Regis was also searched by officers and was being used as a gun conversion factory. It contained the necessary tools to convert firearms, along with further rounds of ammunition, both blank and converted, packaging for blank firing pistols, and the remnants of metal used in the conversion process.

Analysis of their mobile phones revealed that both men had been in regular contact, discussing the purchase of component parts, and the conversion and onward sale of firearms.













Ahmed was also found in possession of a mobile phone linked to the supply of cocaine and cannabis.

Following the investigation, the CPS authorised charges against both men and they were remanded in custody.

On Tuesday 16 January, Afzaal Ahmed was jailed for a total of ten years for the firearms offences, plus an additional one year and three months for the drug offences. This was reduced to a total of seven years and nine months due to his early guilty plea.

David Watson was sentenced to a total of nine years in prison for the firearms offences. This was reduced to six years due to his early guilty plea.

PC Sayed added: “We will continue to pursue those that engage in this type of criminality and put members of the public at risk by supplying lethal barrelled weapons.”

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