Five men have been jailed for more than 50 years for their involvement in the sale of a pump action shotgun from Gloucester to London.
All men involved were charged with conspiring to transfer a prohibited firearm following an investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit.
Luke Connor, aged 32, was the owner and seller of the lethal Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun. It was located in the boot of a minicab which was intercepted by firearms officers on the A40 as it departed Gloucestershire, heading in the direction of London on 26 August last year.
Connor, of Coltishall Close in Gloucester was the principle member of the group and was jailed for 16 years on Thursday 20 February, at Winchester Crown Court.
The vehicle stop followed a surveillance led operation where officers had seen a short meeting in which £3,500 cash was handed over in a vehicle parked outside Gloucester Quays.
The courier, 19-year-old Hamza Sadi then used a cab to travel from the meeting point to an address in Gloucester where Joshua Laister, 24 and of Bodenham Field, Abbeymead handed over the firearm.
Sadi of Elton Close, London N16 was arrested from the vehicle which was destined for London. The firearm was found inside a camping bag, within a sports bag in the boot of the car. He was jailed for five years and seven months for his involvement.
Laister was used to 'warehouse' the firearm and handed it over on demand to Sadi. He was jailed for six years.
The court heard how Fareed Oseni, 25 and of Thorndale House, Manor Road, London N16 facilitated the sale of the weapon and its transfer from Gloucester to London. He was jailed for 12 years and six months for his involvement.
Investigating officers believe the firearm, which was found with six live cartridges, was destined for gang related criminality in London.
It is capable of rapid fire and was described in court as a "devastating weapon" by HHJ Barnett. The purchaser was 21-year-old Sadak Hassan, of Boleyn Road, London N16, who has links to a London gang. He was jailed for 11 years and three months.
Gloucestershire Constabulary had launched a proactive investigation, titled Operation Yardland, on Connor which led to the interception of the transfer of the firearm after it had been sold.
Detective Inspector Ian Fletcher said: "This weapon was capable of wiping out a room in seconds and could have been devastating if it had ended up in the wrong hands.
"Thankfully following the surveillance led operation and the hard work of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit we managed to intercept the firearm while it was on its way to London. The evidence against all involved was strong and led to guilty pleas from all involved.
"This weapon can't legally be owned in the UK and it's the first of its kind seized in Gloucestershire, we believe it was likely smuggled from America at some point.
"The five members of this group have been jailed for a combined 51 years and six months, which is a fantastic sentence and sends out a strong message of what will happen if you get involved in this type of criminality.
"I would urge for anyone who has information about the sale of firearms or other crimes to please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
"If you are threatened or forced into hiding a weapon such as this, please tell us. We will do everything we can to protect you and pursue those higher up the chain."
Anyone with information can call police on 101 or independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Image credit: Gloucester Constabulary