These are the lethal weapons recovered following a police crackdown on illegally converted guns.
Earlier this week, Corey Atkinson, 26, and Mark McNamara, 28, were jailed for a combined total of 20 years for their part in a conspiracy to convert blank-firing air pistols into live weapons.
As part of Operation Lyra launched by GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Group in 2020, the pair from Oldham, were found to be illegally converting Retay airguns, UK legal semi-automatic blank firing pistols, using metal tubing into lethal guns to be used in the criminal community.
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Minshull Street Crown Court previously heard that two guns were found in Woodland near Edinburgh Close in Wigan, concealed in a box which was wrapped in nappies and doused in WD-40.
A further search of McNamara’s house saw officers find his girlfriend’s phone which contained messages implicating them both in the wider conspiracy.
A black pistol was also recovered from his home, alongside six bullets.
At Atkinson’s address, officers found six guns which had been illegally converted, along with modified bullets, sawn off metal tubes and a cutting disc.
Further messages from McNamara’s phone with his girlfriend showed that he was involved in testing the guns as part of a sales negotiation at Daisy Nook Country Park.
In one message, he said: “Just bin dwn Daisy Nuk tested 1 them love waiting 4 guys get bk us nw bwt csh.”
Atkinson, of Farm Road, was jailed for 12 years, and McNamara, of Bankfield Drive, was jailed for eight years, both of which will have to serve two thirds of their sentence before their release.
Detective Superintendent Chris Mossop, who led the investigation, said: “Yesterday’s significant sentences are a huge step forward in our aim to take those involved in converting legal firearms into deadly weapons we’re working relentlessly to really drive a wedge between organised crime groups and the possession, supply and use of weapons in Greater Manchester.
“Atkinson was clearly an illegal converter with the help of McNamara – the pair were working together to turn Retay guns into live firing deadly weapons where they could end up in the hands of criminals and ultimately cost someone’s life.
“These two men are two more put behind bars and therefore a gap in the supply chain for criminals.
“We will not stop pursuing such dangerous and scheming individuals across our region and our focus remains on taking strong action against those in society who brazenly involve themselves in the use, trade and criminal conversion of firearms in Greater Manchester and we will ensure that those we suspect of having such involvement will face prosecution and be taken from our streets.”
Alan Bates, GMP’s Firearms and Licensing Manager, said: “This case shows that blank firing pistols are being sourced from legitimate and legal dealers and other retailers but they are being illegally converted before being misused by criminals.
“”Registered firearms dealers and other retailers are asked to contact us with any unusual transactions or suspicious activity – even the smallest bit of information could be a huge step and ultimately save a life.
“It’s illegal to possess most firearms without a licence in the UK and law enforcement across the country are working hard and sharing intelligence to half criminals’ ability to acquire, distribute and sell firearms.
“It’s an offence under the Firearms Act to convert an imitation or realistic imitation firearm and it’s also an offence to alter the colour of an imitation firearm which are sold with at least 50% of their surface area painted a bright colour.
“If in doubt, contact a Registered Firearms Dealer, shooting organisation or your local Firearms Licensing Unit.
“The issue around Retay guns is of growing concern not only in our region, but across the country and we’re working alongside partners and other law enforcement agencies to crackdown on those creating lethal weapons and putting lives at risk.”
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