A former armed robber has been sent back to jail after being found guilty of importing two firearms and fifty rounds of 9mm ammunition from America.
The National Crime Agency’s investigation began in February 2015, after Border Force officers working at an international postal depot near Heathrow found two packages containing firearms parts, labelled as ‘antique metal’ which had been posted from Dallas to an address in Bayswater, London.
NCA officers visited the address, a block of flats, and found a further two parcels to the same consignee unopened in the communal hallway.
All four packages were examined, and between them contained the constituent parts for two semi-automatic pistols and 50 rounds of 9mm compatible ammunition.
Fingerprint evidence on some of the parts linked them to Jason Nicholas, 45, one of six men jailed in 1995 for their part in a series of armed robberies in north and west London. Nicholas was sentenced to 20 years in prison, reduced to 13 years on appeal.
Checks also revealed Nicholas had been to Dallas for five days the week before the parcel was intercepted, and that one of the men convicted with him in 1995 lived in the flats in Bayswater.
NCA investigators, supported by specialist firearms officers from the Metropolitan Police, raided Nicholas’ home in Mount Park Road, Pinner, in the early hours of 13 August 2015. He would later be charged with the importation of firearms.
Nicholas denied the charge, but was found guilty following a five-day trial at the Old Bailey. On Friday 23 June he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Ian Truby, from NCA Border Investigations, said: “Given Jason Nicholas’ history of involvement in violent crime, seizing these guns and putting him behind bars has undoubtedly prevented further offences being committed.
“Nicholas thought that by splitting the components up and getting them posted to a fictitious name he could get them through border checks and mask his involvement, but our investigators were able to put some compelling evidence before the jury which led to his conviction.
“Tackling the importation of illegal firearms has never been a higher priority for the NCA, and working with our colleagues in Border Force and the Metropolitan Police we are determined to protect the public from the harm they can cause.”
James Morgan, Border Force Deputy Director, Postal & Aviation Command said: “Border Force plays a pivotal role in protecting our communities from harm and we have dedicated and experienced officers working tirelessly to detect and seize dangerous items like these.
“We will continue to work closely with the NCA and other law enforcement partners to prevent illegal firearms entering the UK and bring those responsible to justice.”
Anyone who has any information about illegally held guns or ammunition should either contact the police or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.