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Sussex pair jailed for illegally importing firearms

01 Sep, 2017 11:04 News Justice Done
Sussex pair jailed for illegally importing firearms

Two men have been sentenced to a total of more than 28 years imprisonment after admitting importing and possessing two automatic sub-machine guns and a handgun after an intelligence-led Sussex Police investigation

Nicholas Barbary, 29, unemployed, of Walesbeech, Crawley (left in picture), and Mark Maynard, 30, self-employed, of New England Road, Haywards Heath, (right in picture) had both pleaded guilty to importing, and possessing with intent to endanger life, a self-loading Walther P38 pistol, and two reactivated Czechoslovakian Skorpion sub-machine-guns, and ammunition. All the weapons were fully loaded.

On Thursday (31 August) at Lewes Crown Court, Barbary was sentenced to 12 years and Maynard was sentenced to 16 years and two months. Both will have to serve the first two-thirds of their sentences before being eligible to apply for parole, and will have to serve a further four years extended prison release licence supervision after their eventual release. 

Barbary had pleaded guilty at a pre-trial hearing at Hove Crown Court on 11 May and Maynard had pleaded guilty at a separate hearing at the same Court on Monday 1 August.

The pair were arrested by officers from the Sussex Police Serious Organised Crime Unit when their hire van was stopped by armed officers on the off-slip road at junction 10 of the M23 southbound in Crawley at 8.40pm on Tuesday 17 January this year.

The weapons were found, wrapped in black plastic tape, attached to the underside of the van by magnets. The package contained a further 157 rounds of ammunition.

Hidden underneath the van

The pistol had two magazines, one of which was loaded into the weapon and contained six rounds of 9mm ammunition. The spare magazine contained seven rounds.

One of the machine guns contained a loaded magazine with 16 rounds of .32 ammunition. The other Skorpion did not contain a magazine, but there was an unloaded spare magazine which would fit either of them.

There were also a further 150 rounds of .32 ammunition in three boxes, for the Skorpions and sound suppressor which is capable of fitting those weapons.

The weapons and ammunition found

Watch our video below showing how powerful the Skorpion machine gun is.

Detective Sergeant Paul Graham said; "These arrests followed intelligence and our investigation showed that the pair were responsible for these weapons coming into the UK and their collection once here. Although we have not yet established exactly what if anything specific was planned or where the weapons were to be moved to, they were clearly intended for criminal use in or around Sussex.

"On 17 January we followed Maynard and Barbary from Crawley to a coach park in Coventry, where they retrieved a package attached by magnets to the underside of a coach that had returned the previous day from a routine tourist trip to Belgium and attached it to the underside of their van. We followed and stopped them when they came back to Sussex.

"The package had been attached to the coach without the knowledge of the coach operators or the passengers.

"Clearly these weapons posed a real threat to people in Sussex and elsewhere, whether engaged in crime or law-abiding. But we were able, working with law enforcement partners in the UK and abroad, to prevent them reaching the streets and causing injury or death."

Tom Guest from the CPS said: “Maynard and Barbary used a tourist coach excursion to smuggle deadly weapons into the country. Both engaged in significant planning to carry out this serious criminality. The CPS worked closely with Sussex Police to build a strong case against the men, leaving them with no choice but to plead guilty.”

There was no evidence of any terrorist connection or motive in this case.

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