31/03/2010

Six Men Jailed For 43 Years

A gang of criminals have been sentenced to a total of 43 years for a string of firearms offences.

The six were arrested and charged following an operation by the Metropolitan Police Service's anti-shootings command, Trident.

During a trial at Croydon Crown Court the jury heard how the operation began in May 2008 when Trident officers identified 30-year-old Gary Waller, of 41 Seymour Villas, South Norwood, as a gun supplier.

Further investigations revealed that Waller was running a cottage industry, converting imitation and blank-firing handguns in to lethal weapons using a basic but extremely effective conversion factory located in a cupboard in his living room.

During the operation officers recovered six firearms including a converted Magnum handgun loaded with three rounds of ammunition, a converted Glock and nine rounds of ammunition, a Steyr machine pistol loaded with five rounds of ammunition, two converted Brocock Olympic.

Waller was arrested in September 2008 along with the five other defendants. Together the six made up a network of runners, middlemen, purchasers and end-users.

Marvin Welch, 29, of 12 Mirfield Court, Selby Road, SE20 was used by Waller to store finished and partly finished firearms in his flat, located close to Waller's home.

Wesley Huggins, 25, of 3 Henry House, Wyvil Road, SW8 and Adrian McNeish, 27, of 27A Grove Vale, SE22 both acted as middlemen sourcing customers and using "runners" as couriers to deliver the converted weapons.

Darren Yaw Opoku, 19, of 20 North Downs Crescent, New Addington, Surrey acted as a courier, delivering weapons to Waller's "customers".

Cadele Clarke, 25, of 1 Beauclerk House, Leigham Avenue SW16, was a criminal who bought weapons from Waller.

Due to the overwhelming evidence against them, Waller, McNeish and Welch pleaded guilty to the charges outlined below.

Clarke, Opoku and Huggins opted to have trials and all three were convicted and sentenced on Monday.

The six defendants were all sentenced at Croydon Crown Court yesterday.

During the trial of Clarke and Opoku the judge dismissed the indictment of "possession with intent to enable another to endanger life" on the grounds that there was no clear evidence of the defendants' intentions.

(PR)

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