A man who sold illegally imported guns and homemade bullets to criminal gangs has been convicted of supplying lethal weapons.
Paul Edmunds, 66, had turned his home in a middle class suburb of Gloucester into an ammunition factory.
The licensed gun dealer used his “encyclopaedic knowledge” of firearms legislation to exploit loopholes and smuggle hundreds of banned weapons from the USA.
In a case that will raise questions about current gun importation laws, Edmunds was able to walk through customs at Heathrow airport with weapons he was supplying to criminals.
Lying to officials about the age of guns, he falsely claimed many were antiques and therefore allowed in the UK because there is no commercially available ammunition.
One Colt pistol brought through Heathrow in November 2013 was used to murder a man in a shooting at Avalon nightclub in west London just a month later.
The genuine antique weapons imported by Edmunds were converted by him into killing machines because he was able to manufacture bullets.
When police raided his home in Hardwicke they found tens of thousands of rounds stored in his attic, garage and bedroom.
Ammunition made by him was recovered at the scenes of more then a hundred shootings, including the murders of Birmingham men Derek Myers and Kenichi Phillips and the targeting of a West Midlands Police helicopter during the riots in 2011.
He was eventually caught after ballistics experts linked ammunition from dozens of crime scenes.
Greg Taylor from the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) told Sky News bullets made in the same mound will share characteristics.
“The finished product will have tool markings on them at various stages and on various components,” he explained.
“It is these tool markings the ultimately allow us to forensically link batches of ammunition that have been recovered from crime.”
Edmunds used a middle man, respected physiotherapist Mohinder Surdhar, 58, who he had met at a gun fair, to supply his weapons and ammunition to criminal gangs.
Surdhar admitted his part in the plot.
Detective Constable Phil Rodgers from West Midlands Police Force CID, who led the investigation, likened the pair to unlikely crooks Walter White and Jesse Pinkman from hit TV show Breaking Bad.
“They were like the Breaking Bad of the gun world.
“On the face of it, both decent men but using their skills and expertise to provide deadly firearms.
“But this was no TV drama, these were real weapons, real bullets, real victims.
“Their actions have had a devastating impact on communities by fuelling violent crime, leading to fear and bloodshed.
“Our investigation has undoubtedly prevented many more firearms and countless rounds of ammunition getting into criminal hands and in all likelihood saved lives.”
Marcia Shakespeare, whose daughter Letisha was shot dead in 2003, an innocent victim of a drive-by gang related shooting, told Sky News the case raises serious questions about current gun licensing laws.
“They need to update licences now there’s been a loophole where… people are going to different countries and actually bringing in those firearms.
“So I think definitely policing on firearms licenses needs to be changed.”