A pensioner will serve 30 years in jail for selling firearms and homemade bullets to dangerous criminals after West Midlands Police linked him to a gun crime spike across the UK.
Ammunition made by Paul Edmunds in the garage of his Gloucester village home was recovered by detectives at the scene of more than 100 shootings, including the Birmingham murder of Kenichi Phillips.
The firearms fanatic handcrafted bespoke bullets for use in vintage weapons, like late 19th Century St Etienne and Smith & Wesson revolvers, which he brought into the country legally as collector’s items.
But he also imported prohibited guns from the US having falsely signed customs paperwork claiming they were antiques.
Edmunds supplied the guns and ammo to respected physiotherapist Dr Mohinder Surdhar – whom he met at a Birmingham gun fair in 2008 – who in turn sold them to crime gangs.
West Midlands Police arrested Edmunds at his Hardwicke home where officers found 100,000 rounds of ammunition in his caged armoury but more bullets and gun components strewn around his bedroom and attic.
A total of 17 guns imported by Edmunds from the US, plus 1,000 rounds of ammunition linked to him, have been recovered by police at UK crime scenes.
In April this year a jury failed to reach a verdict over whether Edmunds conspired to transfer prohibited firearms and ammunition – but at Birmingham Crown Court today (Tues Nov 14) he was found guilty and he has now been sentenced.
His accomplice, 56-year-old Surdhar from Grove Lane, Handsworth, had already admitted the same offence.
Edmunds was also found guilty on two counts of perverting the course of justice, after West Midlands Police found evidence he doctored his firearms register to cover his tracks and also filed down components of his bullet making press in a bid to distance himself from markings on casings recovered at crime scenes.
He was also convicted on two counts of Customs & Excise evasion – smuggling Colts and their component parts into the UK from the USA between 2009 and 2015, and taking 6,000 rounds of ammunition to France via Eurostar in the boot of his car in July 2014.
He’d previously been found guilty of transferring three Thompson Contender pistols to a firearms dealer who was not authorised to possess handguns – and trying to get around gun laws by screwing a metal bar into the handle to lengthen it and change the classification.
Detective Constable Phil Rodgers from West Midlands Police Regional Crime Unit, who led the investigation, likened the pair to unlikely TV crooks Walter White and Jesse Pinkman..
He said: “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.
“Edmunds has an encyclopaedic knowledge of firearms. It’s not an easy task making obsolete calibre bullets to fit antique guns; it would have taken several days to make a box of 50. Surdhar also had an armoury at his home and we believe Edmunds was teaching him the art of bullet making.
“Our investigation has undoubtedly prevented many more firearms and countless rounds of ammunition getting into criminal hands…and in all likelihood saved lives.”