Six people have now been convicted of firearms offences after a network of gun sales was uncovered leading to a huge haul of more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition and firearms, writes James Twomey.
Last Wednesday at Croydon Crown Court, Lorenzo Brooks, 28, of Crutchley Road, Catford, was found guilty of conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons.
The court heard how the crimes began when Manfred Kurz – a German national who moved to the UK in around 2004 having previously served with the German Army – had smuggled a huge amount of ammunition into the UK.
The illegal ammunition later came to the notice of his niece, Sian Miller, and they both began to distribute the ammunition to contacts for money.
On February 5, 2018 officers from Trident executed a firearms warrant at Miller’s home address and found 1,800 rounds of ammunition of varying calibres, two pistols and five prohibited weapons.
They also discovered bullet-making equipment including empty cartridges, primers and black powder, which could be used to make live cartridge rounds.
Kurz was arrested the same day and his house was searched.
There officers found a large quantity of black explosive powder and a single live .357 calibre cartridge and bullet-making equipment.
Kurz, 61, of Ashburton Road, Croydon, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of firearms, two counts of possession of ammunition, possession of explosive substances, and possession of component parts of a firearm.
Kurz’s niece, Miller, 25, of Stanger Road, South Norwood, was found guilty of conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition.
Police were able to establish a connection between Lorenzo Brooks and Lukas Duncan, a cousin of Sian Miller, who were both arrested for their part in the conspiracy to sell ammunition.
Trident detectives carried out another raid on April 23, 2018, this time at the home address of Sierra Denton where they seized another large quantity of ammunition. In total, more than 3,100 rounds of ammunition – in varying calibres – two incapacitant sprays and an ounce of heroin were found.
This arrest in turn led to the arrest of Denton’s boyfriend Mishak Wright-Martin. Duncan, 22, of Guildford Avenue, Surbiton, Denton, 21 of Cromer Road, South Norwood, and Wright-Martin, 33, of Kennington Park Road, Kennington, have all been convicted of conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition with Denton pleading guilty to the charge and intent to supply Class A drugs.
Detective Constable Martin Reader, of the Trident and Area Crime Command, said: “The recovery of this haul of ammunition and black powder represents one of the Met’s largest-ever seizures of ammunition and explosive substances in recent times.
“A huge amount of ammunition has been recovered, which we believe was destined to be sold to criminals with gang connections.
“This amount of firepower in the hands of the criminal fraternity is a truly terrifying thought.
“Thankfully the rapid action of Trident officers has taken this weaponry off the streets before it could be used, and for that, every person who lives in, or visits, our capital should be thankful.
“I honestly believe the actions of Met officers has saved lives and brought a number of people to justice, who put their own greed above the safety of their community.”
All six will be sentenced on Wednesday, April 3 at Croydon Crown Court.