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It may not be that far off....

 

 

The gun lords' deadly legacy

 

 

Police are hunting for 3,000 firearms sold to criminals by a father and son, as moves are made to plug gun law loopholes. Mark Townsend reports

 

Sunday December 9, 2007

The Observer

 

 

Three years after they were jailed, police are still unearthing the murderous legacy of Britain's most prolific gun barons. From their ramshackle store in the Derbyshire village of Little Eaton, an unlikely father and son duo presided over an underworld racket that provided Uzi sub-machine guns and AK-47 rifles to organised crime syndicates.

They sold thousands of deactivated weapons - guns that had been made safe - but then included in the manifest detailed instructions and kits showing how to turn them into live firearms.

 

Former egg farmer William Greenwood, 76, may have suffered from a heart condition and his 42-year-old son Mitchell from cerebral palsy, but to police they were the undisputed 'quartermasters of the criminal underworld'. The pair were found guilty in March 2004 and jailed for seven years.

At the close of their trial, detectives said their modus operandi underlined an urgent need for a ban on the possession of deactivated guns, weapons that have been modified under government legislation so they cannot be fired, but are often converted by criminals back into live firearms.

 

Now the Home Office is preparing to make it illegal to buy and import deactivated firearms. It follows written warnings from senior firearms intelligence officers that new gun laws have failed to protect the public. An officer told The Observer: 'Finally, we are hearing that the government is listening to our concerns over the current loophole in the law as regards deactivated guns.'

 

A briefing paper sent by senior firearms intelligence officers to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith warned that a system that allows anyone to acquire legally a deactivated gun without a firearms certificate had to be addressed. Citing the Greenwoods as a warning, it pointed out that a law that still allowed rogue businesses to sell guns to potential criminals was unacceptable and at odds with ministerial pledges over tackling gun crime. The paper, written by a number of senior officers, some from the new National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NaBIS), came in the wake of the shooting of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool this summer. His murder is linked to gangs known to use deactivated weapons.

 

The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, which came into force in November last year, banned imitation firearms but, according to police, did not go far enough. Instead, organised criminals turned to deactivated firearms. In the past year the problem of reactivated firearms has emerged as a major headache for firearms officers, with hundreds of shootings involving their use. According to NaBIS intelligence, one in 10 shootings now involves a reactivated weapon.

 

Meanwhile, the legacy of the Greenwoods' empire dogs the police. A national inquiry has been launched to reinvestigate the whereabouts of the 3,000 weapons they supplied

 

'Huge numbers are out there, they have gone right across the UK,' said a senior police source.

 

Provisional inquiries reveal that they have fallen into the hands of paedophile rings, drug cartels and extortion rackets. A cache of 100 weapons supplied by the pair was recently traced to a home in rural Devon, the firearms piled high in cavities within the property's walls. So far, guns supplied by the Greenwoods have been recovered from at least eight murder scenes, gangland shootings and a loyalist paramilitary arms cache. Guns distributed by the father and son have been traced to at least 65 crime scenes.

 

During their trial, the court heard how the Greenwoods gave criminal clients 'nods and winks' to indicate that the guns could be restored. Police posing as customers caught the pair selling the firearms along with equipment to reconvert them into lethal weapons.

 

An Observer investigation can reveal that criminals can still acquire over the internet deactivated guns that can be converted to fire live ammunition for as little as £250. Weapons being offered for sale on British-based websites last week included a deactivated Uzi 9mm with screw-in silencer for £995 and a deactivated FBP submachine gun for £395. Many of the guns offered were deactivated before 1995, when rules on converting the weapons were less strict, which make them much easier to reactivate. Sources at NaBIS estimate that a skilled armourer can reactivate a weapon in as little as two hours. Although the trade in these guns is legal and no licence is required to buy the weapons, officers have no doubts that major criminals are converting them into lethal firearms.

 

One website, Arundel Militaria, last week listed deactivated AK47s and a deactivated Bren machine gun among the weapons it has recently sold. Claiming that the company specialises 'in pre-1995 deactivated sub-machine guns', an employee said they had no knowledge that firearms they had sold had been reactivated and that they would not sell to anyone they considered suspect.

 

The police also harbour wider concerns relating to Britain's vulnerability to gun crime. In particular they warn that tens of thousands of live firearms are being legally imported into the UK through official means and deactivated. They are then sent to registered firearms dealers where the risk of them falling into criminal hands remains.

 

'A lot of weapons are coming into the UK and we know some dealers are dealing guns on the very edge of legality,' said a firearms intelligence officer. A number of dealers are thought to be among the 118 people arrested two weeks ago in a series of raids that recovered 1,300 real and imitation firearms from Manchester, London, Liverpool and Birmingham.

 

It was the shooting of Rhys Jones that proved the final straw for police. Killed with a single bullet in the car park of Liverpool's Fir Tree pub, his death signalled a new low in Britain's gun crime. Police are still pursuing the theory that Rhys was caught in crossfire between members of the Nogzy and Crocky, rival gangs from the Liverpool council estates of Norris Green and Croxteth. Both are heavily armed with reactivated weapons and though the murder weapon has yet to be discovered, it remains likely Rhys was murdered with a weapon legally imported into the UK and converted.

 

Latest intelligence confirms the port of Liverpool as a main entry point for guns, with hundreds traced to factories in Lithuania.

 

Along the East Lancs Road, estimates suggest that half the firearms on the streets of Manchester are converted. An influx of ME38 pistols is believed to be behind the frequency of shootings in a triangle south of the city centre. Officers have tracked about 300 ME Magnums and ME38 Pockets imported legally from Germany and converted in a derelict north Manchester mill. Their prevalence came to prominence after one, buried in a front garden by an anxious mother, was discovered by her eldest son, who accidentally shot dead his 12-year-old sister, Kamilah Peniston, earlier this year.

 

According to police, the number of 'high-quality' weapons in the UK is low. Provisional analysis by NaBIS confirms that, contrary to myth, Britain is not awash with guns. Current prices reflect their rarity. A converted Russian gas-powered Baikal sells for around £500, though the premium prices are reserved for guns that are 'clean'. 'Guns used in previous crime depreciate vastly. You don't want to spend an extra five years inside for a crime you did not commit,' said a police source.

 

For now, the precise quantity of guns in the UK remains a topic of conjecture. One police estimate suggests there are 120,000 deactivated firearms dating from pre-1995 on the black market. Officers last week would go only so far as to say there were a 'huge number'.

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So far ANY of the gun laws have failed to protect the public. It is not legal sensible owners that go round shooting people. 2 sorts of people laugh at the law, those who make it those who break it (Sorry Mod's not polotics really, just frustration)

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So far ANY of the gun laws have failed to protect the public. It is not legal sensible owners that go round shooting people. 2 sorts of people laugh at the law, those who make it those who break it (Sorry Mod's not polotics really, just frustration)

 

I think the answer to deacs is to have some sort of licence for them... that way the police know who has them & can trace where they go when they are sold on... if dealers had to keep a record as they do with firearms I don't think many would end up in dodgy hands to be converted..

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Completely agree, but who will pay for the vetting etc? As a point of intrest after Dunblane a witch hunt took place to find how many legally held hand guns had been used in crime. Result, 3! And these had been stolen in a burglary and properly reported as such. :dunno:

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Completely agree, but who will pay for the vetting etc? :dunno:

 

 

 

We Will:..............These 'Knee jerk', vote catching statments, really do make me sick. :angry:

The Known fact of rival gangs on a housing estate, using illegal guns, reactivated or otherwise,.........Why isn't something being done to remove them; after all, they are breaking the law of the land : Answer, too difficult; much easier to target the law abiding tax paying members of society.

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The laws already exist. Talk about not reinventing the wheel , just fitting more tyres. The elephant that started as a mouse.

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Notice how they never say how many de-activated weapons are in law abiding collectors possession.

How long will it take to outlaw Military Vehicles, after all, if a politician starts drawing "Logical" conclusions about our vehicles owned by a minority, they could disappear overnight with barely a peep from the rest of the population.

 

Just make sure you keep your vehicles secure, disabled when not used and out of reach of the criminal element, otherwise we will be on the end of another knee jerk reaction, imagine the Glasgow airport incident if it had featured a Humber Pig or a REO instead of a Jeep Cherokee. :|

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Not the same but in the paper today they annouced that Samurai Swords will be no longer available for general sale

 

Just saw this on the BBC news site. It covers replica blades, not genuine ones, and bans import and selling them. Same laws as replica guns, it seems.

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If a bomb was detonated in a Pig, the reaction would be 'Did you hear a bump?'. Or probably not heard at all over the transmission. Don't give 'Them' ideas there paranoid enough. Back in 2005 after July 7th I was at the VE'VJ 60th celebrations with the dodge. At about 8:00 on the Saturday i said 'just going down to dodge be back for tea in a couple of minutes'. About 19:30 I stopped talking to people. the reaction from a lot of them was 'We weren't going to bother but after the bombs, we weren't going to let the terrorists think they won'. that is the attitude of people.

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So far ANY of the gun laws have failed to protect the public. It is not legal sensible owners that go round shooting people. 2 sorts of people laugh at the law, those who make it those who break it (Sorry Mod's not polotics really, just frustration)

 

 

I agree.

Laughter type 1 : From politicians who go 'Ha' that will stop them.

Laughter type 2 : From criminals who go 'Ha ha, that will make f**k all difference to us'

Laughter type 3 : From law abiding enthusiasts who weep with frustration at the stupidity of those who make the law.

 

The supposed mandatory sentence for those with an illegal firearm is 5 years, yet the father and son who supplied 3000 firearms to the underworld only received 7 years. In America they would never see the light of day again yet how many of us have had problems with firearms officers (I have).

.....wanders over to the kettle, pours tea and tries to get rid of the vein that has appeared in side of neck...... :angry:

 

 

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I had a load of grief from my local firearms officer, when he came to do his inspection for my renewal.

He did not like my slr which hangs in mounts on the lounge wall. He had quite a go about deacts and how it could be used in crime ie a bank raid, Even though the average crim can by an off ticket weapon for buttons

 

I feel a lot of this gun problem stems from

 

A DRUG crime ie turf wars

 

B portrayal of guns within media ie film tv dvd etc and more importantly computer games.

I'm fed up of seeing the hero hit by 1/2 doz 7.62 nato's and carrying on, in reality your lucky to survive a torso hit from one :schocked: GET REAL >:(

 

I grew up listening to my Uncle who landed with John Howard, and had fought through Italy, Father served in Africa after war seconded to the South African rifles, when Africa was being handed back before the Mau Mau and reprisals were brutal and savage

As a kid I was swamped with conflict stories, but real ones not fantasy to fuel a desire to carry out wanton slaughter.

Sooner our so called trick cyclists wake up and realise that if little Johnny is immersed in fantasy violence daily he will consider it the norm.

Some of the recent so called computer games are sickening to say the least.

And so called soft drugs are anything but.

Sorry if I offend the legalise cannabis, freedom of expression etc brigades, but I enjoy if hobby, and do not want to see it destroyed, and the society we have by this mindless minority.

 

So I will get of my soap box, and see what others say

 

 

 

HF

 

 

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I had a load of grief from my local firearms officer, when he came to do his inspection for my renewal.

He did not like my slr which hangs in mounts on the lounge wall. He had quite a go about deacts and how it could be used in crime ie a bank raid, Even though the average crim can by an off ticket weapon for buttons

 

I feel a lot of this gun problem stems from

 

A DRUG crime ie turf wars

 

B portrayal of guns within media ie film tv dvd etc and more importantly computer games.

I'm fed up of seeing the hero hit by 1/2 doz 7.62 nato's and carrying on, in reality your lucky to survive a torso hit from one :schocked: GET REAL >:(

 

I grew up listening to my Uncle who landed with John Howard, and had fought through Italy, Father served in Africa after war seconded to the South African rifles, when Africa was being handed back before the Mau Mau and reprisals were brutal and savage

As a kid I was swamped with conflict stories, but real ones not fantasy to fuel a desire to carry out wanton slaughter.

Sooner our so called trick cyclists wake up and realise that if little Johnny is immersed in fantasy violence daily he will consider it the norm.

Some of the recent so called computer games are sickening to say the least.

And so called soft drugs are anything but.

Sorry if I offend the legalise cannabis, freedom of expression etc brigades, but I enjoy if hobby, and do not want to see it destroyed, and the society we have by this mindless minority.

 

So I will get of my soap box, and see what others say

 

 

 

HF

 

 

 

 

 

Fair comments, matey. :-)

 

I to, feel the lack of realism, in tv/film/comp game 's IS a real fact in the pin heads who watch them, and go out carrying knifes and guns, thinking its COOL, to do so,............do not have the brain cells to realise each WILL KILL, or MAIME.

As a younger person, I well remember the A team rubish,...............them blazing away with semi auto wepeons, and no one getting hurt.............. :whistle:

 

As its already been said, the law is in place to deal with those who carry guns, trouble is, its easier to 'pick on', the law abiding section of the community.

(This is certainly NOT a dig at any police officers reading this,..........the majority of you do a grand job, under increasingly difficult conditions)

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The A team!!!!!! :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: did more damage to the sales of Ruger mini 14 than any anti gun law. Your right though, a bit of screaming and yelling for mum when hit by a bullet wouldn't go a miss. Trouble is wouldn't get it past the censors, to realistic. Many moon ago, when the nappie's stayed up by themelves, George Arnold took me up to a shooting range and hung up a leg of pork. He then let me fire his .44 muzzle loading pistol at it. The meat just flew apart, scared the ***** out of me. He then just looked at me and said 'That is what would happen if you shoot at anything alive'. A frigtening lesson than has never been forgotten.

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The A team!!!!!! :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: did more damage to the sales of Ruger mini 14 than any anti gun law. Your right though, a bit of screaming and yelling for mum when hit by a bullet wouldn't go a miss. Trouble is wouldn't get it past the censors, to realistic. Many moon ago, when the nappie's stayed up by themelves, George Arnold took me up to a shooting range and hung up a leg of pork. He then let me fire his .44 muzzle loading pistol at it. The meat just flew apart, scared the ***** out of me. He then just looked at me and said 'That is what would happen if you shoot at anything alive'. A frigtening lesson than has never been forgotten.

 

 

 

With the (minority of)youths who carry guns today,...........I'm thinking they'd find it 'cool'.......... :dunno:

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My son was not even allowed to point toy guns at people. Guns were there as tools, he shoots and enjoys it, but its nothing special. All this keep kids away from shooting in organisation such as the Scout's etc means they never learn in a controlled enviroment were saftey is first last and always. And where will the Olympic shooting be held? Woolwich RA Barracks in a part of London getting a nasty reputation for gun crime! You won't univent them better kids learn what damage can happen if a gun is misued, like motor vehicles, the new ones are all sold on 'they are safe for drivers and pasengers'. Great, except, over the years I've seen what thes SAFE cars do to people and animals that aren't inside there crash proof air bagged saftey cells. The driver, mooping a few scratches says 'Well I'm all right' while I'm scraping horse and rider of the tarmac!!!!!!! (Sorry some one shook my pram)

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You won't univent them better kids learn what damage can happen if a gun is misued, like motor vehicles, the new ones are all sold on 'they are safe for drivers and pasengers'. Great, except, over the years I've seen what thes SAFE cars do to people and animals that aren't inside there crash proof air bagged saftey cells. The driver, mooping a few scratches says 'Well I'm all right' while I'm scraping horse and rider of the tarmac!!!!!!! (Sorry some one shook my pram)

 

 

 

No Worries, Tony;............In this respect I think your dead (sic) right: All the 'saftey devices',........airbags, crumple zones, deformable interiors, etc are there to protect the person/people inside the vehicle;................cause its going to make one feel safer. :roll:

Instead of them learing to drive properly, ie, judge distance and speed, along with width of driven vehicle, basic lessons will not become obvious.

 

To my mind, and I drive a vehicle with NO ABS, airbags, etc, Ifeel the best method of teaching any driver is to mount a 6 inch nail in middle of steering wheel, point upwards. :whistle:

Would CERTAINLY concentrate the mind then regarding braking procedure............... :sweat:

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the most dangerous thing in any vehicle is the nut behind the wheel. Its suprising how many people are scared of the Dodge or the 101 because they make noises that can be heard and the sterring wheel has a feel to it.

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the most dangerous thing in any vehicle is the nut behind the wheel. Its suprising how many people are scared of the Dodge or the 101 because they make noises that can be heard and the sterring wheel has a feel to it.

 

 

Aye, vehicles that 'talk' to you, whilst in motion, are the best.......... :-)

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Trying to get back on topic, does this act cover the hanging imitation grenades from the vehicle ?

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Trying to get back on topic, does this act cover the hanging imitation grenades from the vehicle ?

 

 

No mention of ordinance in the VCR Act.....

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Be very concerned, I'm sure we are being watched quite carefully by our elected masters.

 

The only reason we have our deacts at the moment is

 

A / The Police and Govt view the enforcement of removal as a logistic minefield, with no record of ownership, and the possibility of many weapons going underground in the event of a ban

 

B/ No one has stood up and spouted off in the media to start the reqd witch hunt with some power crazy junior MP looking for the main chance.

 

Extreme I hear people shout, trust me we're on borrowed time

 

If we want our hobby to continue, we need to fight and stand together HMVF, MVT etc, like with the VCR bill recently, it came very close then

 

I know there will be people saying 'HF he's a drama queen', but it won't take much and then we will have a battle.

 

Perhaps if we paint our vehicles pink, and wear leather lederhosen, we may get some sort of grant/aid as a diversity group :-D

 

Just another thought, though we say what a permissive society we live in, look at the other day I posted a bit of humour, which it appears had people screaming for their report buttons in nano seconds :| and I bet we are viewed by many with a similar intolerance who given half a chance would use their delete buttons on us and what we represent. :-(

 

So we hvae to accept we are not a PC group in any shape or form, and I think we have done very well on the lack of flak we receive :whistle:

 

 

 

HF fed up with petty bureaucracy and PC = piffle and cr*p

 

 

 

 

 

 

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