"a serious criminal operation involving drugs and lethal weapons"
A Bradford Asian man, Mr Masih Ullah, aged 34, has been prisoned for 18 years for possessing a haul of lethal weapons which included a loaded sawn-off shotgun, a revolver, a sub-machine gun and hoards of bullets.
On March 9 2016, the NMR industrial unit in Abel Street, Wyke, Bradford, was raided by police. Metal shutters behind locked gates protected the premises, which was being used as a manufacturing factory for cannabis and hoarding the weapons, reported the Telegraph and Argus.
Items discovered by police during the raid included a crossbow, a loaded silver revolver with ammunition.
Prosecutor Chloe Hudson stated that the drugs and lethal weapons were found at the premises because of a warrant that had been issued by a debt recovery company chasing an electricity bill that had not been paid.
Mr Ullah pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at the premises and the possession of the lethal weapons and the associated ammunition.
The following day police arrested Ullah as he was walking. On him, they found he had keys to a Toyota iQ. Ullah revealed the location of the car.
Police located the car and inside they came across weapons which included a single barrel shotgun, a loaded Smith and Wesson revolver, a separated imitation Uzi submachine gun, a loaded sawn-off shotgun, expanding ‘dum dum’ bullets, 50 rounds of hollow point Luger ammunition in a shoebox and 20 boxes of shotgun ammunition.
Also, they found bars of gold and silver and two UK passports in his name.
Ullah previously had a car business which collapsed, after which he moved into the industrial unit to live. It also led him into smoking huge quantities cannabis and growing it.
Representing Ullah in court, his barrister, Yunus Valli stated that Ullah had not used the firearms and none were linked to any criminal activity.
Valli told the court that Ullah had a cannabis debt and was only looking after the lethal weapons for his drug dealer:
“He was a vulnerable man taken advantage of by others more criminally sophisticated.”
Also, when caught, Ullah pleaded guilty right away and there was no premeditated criminal intent, professed Valli.
However, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC did not see it this way. He said the police had intercepted “a very significant criminal operation”.
“It was nothing less than the disruption of a serious criminal operation involving drugs and lethal weapons.”
As Ullah was sentenced, Judge Durham Hall told him: “This was a quantity of weapons with which gangsters and serious organised criminals could have wreaked mayhem.”
“The message will go out, Mr Ullah, that even those who lend themselves to those schemes, with such lethal weapons, will find themselves receiving no mercy from the courts.”
Bradford District Organised Crime Unit were responsible for the police operation to arrest Ullah. Detective Constable John Gacquin of the unit said: “Ullah richly deserves such a lengthy sentence and we hope this case sends a very strong message to those who think it is acceptable to carry such weapons.”
Gacquin added that the ‘dum dum’ expanding bullets found “are actually banned under the Hague Convention for military use” and would have lead to huge loss of life.
The conviction of Ullah demonstrates how quickly a criminal can be detected and caught through a meticulous police operation of this kind.