Added on 10 November 2017 at 07:52
Three men have been jailed for a total of more than 30 years after their daring plan to bring a sub machine gun and ammunition into Bristol to “endanger lives” was thwarted by an undercover police operation.
They were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 9 November).
The court had been told lives would almost certainly have been put at risk if the ambitious plan to carry the Sterling sub machine gun across county boundaries had not been intercepted by firearms officers.
Kairan Greenwood, aged 29, of College Court, Bristol, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life. He has been jailed for 17 years.
Raymond Ray, aged 31, of Porchester Road, Bournemouth, was convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life. He faces 13 in prison.
And Simon Christopher, aged 42, of Lydney Road, Bristol, had also admitted possessing a prohibited weapon and ammunition. He was given a five-year jail sentence.
The plan to transport the machine gun was hatched against a background of community tension in East Bristol.
There had been several incidents involving weapons which had resulted in people sustaining serious injuries – including a stabbing and shooting in the Hillfields area of Bristol at Christmas in 2015.
Kairan Greenwood was believed to be the patriarch figure – the Bristol-based organised crime boss - sending a courier to collect the sub machine gun and ammunition from Bournemouth on 29 April 2016.
The BMW carrying the gun and ammunition, which was concealed in a black sports holdall, was stopped in London Road, Warmley following an intelligence-led undercover operation by police firearms officers.
Ray, Christopher and ringleader Greenwood were all arrested and subsequently charged.
At an earlier trial, linked to this one, four men were jailed for a total of 19 years for their involvement in a plot in October 2016 to exchange firearms in a pre-arranged event in Bristol. This offence was committed by Greenwood while on remand for Op Talon (the Warmley incident. He was being sentenced for his involvement in both incidents.
DCI James Riccio, SIO for Operation Talon said: “This was a tremendous example of intelligence-led investigative policing at its best. I would like to thank the team of officers involved in this well-executed cross-border operation which demonstrated excellent teamwork involving specialist undercover firearms officers working in collaboration with officers in Dorset and also from the local policing area in Bristol.
““There is no doubt in my mind that those who have been convicted had every intention of using this dangerous firearm. It had the potential to maim or even kill others.
There is no doubt in my mind, the sub machine gun seized was intended to be used and had this happened, which it could have had serious repercussions, with potential risk for innocent members of the community in the East Bristol area.
“We hope that our robust action – together with the court’s decision today to put these people behind bars - should provide reassurance to those living in that community.
We remain resolute, relentlessly seeking these serious career criminals and removing them from our streets. We also remain committed to locating and seizing illegal firearms in order to prevent their criminal use in and around the city,” declared DCI Riccio.