"The weapon was capable of firing consecutive cartridges."
Aqdas Vasi, aged 32, of Manchester, was jailed for 12 years for masterminding a UK-wide gun-running racket. Police spotted the gangster selling an antique revolver to a teenager.
On June 12, 2020, detectives kept watch on Vasi’s home in Fallowfield following a tip-off.
He was seen getting out of a BMW before getting into the passenger seat of a parked Mercedes van and shaking hands with the driver.
He was driven to a nearby rendezvous point to meet 19-year-old Tyrece Weaver. All three men then went back to Vasi’s home where he approached his Audi and then held “items” in his gloved hands.
Weaver was then taken back to his waiting taxi before being driven back to Stevenage.
The prosecutor Paul Dockery said: “Officers followed the taxi until it was stopped by police on the southbound slip road to the M6 motorway at its junction with the A556 near Tabley.
“Officers arrested all occupants of the taxi at that scene.
“On the rear shelf of the taxi behind where Mr Weaver was sitting was found a prohibited weapon, a Defender 89.32′ rimfire revolver, together with 5 bulleted cartridges. The weapon was capable of firing consecutive cartridges.
“Police resources were split after the taxi left Fallowfield and Mr Vasi was not pursued that evening.”
The gangster was arrested a month later after police were called to his home following complaints of a public disturbance.
He was seen climbing out of a first-floor window before re-entering his home through the back door.
Detectives forced open his car boot with an iron bar. They discovered a Bulldog revolver hidden inside a Sainsbury’s carrier bag.
Vasi denied all knowledge of the firearm before making no comment.
The gangster had previous convictions for affray, disorderly behaviour drug possession and harassment.
In 2008, the security consultant and 16 fellow members of the ‘Fallowfield Mad Dogs’ gang had been involved in an attack on a 16-year-old boy who they accused of stepping onto their “turf”.
The boy was shot dead eight months later in revenge for another teenager’s murder.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, the gangster admitted charges of selling a firearm and possessing prohibited weapons.
Weaver, of Hertfordshire, admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition. He claimed he was pressurised to go to Manchester by a Hertfordshire-based gang.
Firearms charges against a third man Paul Allum, aged 20, of Hertfordshire were dropped at an earlier hearing.
Oliver Jarvis, defending Vasi, said no gun had been loaded or been ready for use. He added:
“One of the guns was made in the late 19th century and was not a more modern weapon. There is no evidence in this case of greater criminal intent.”
Philip Sutton, for Weaver, said his client had been targeted by gangsters due to his cannabis use and learning difficulties.
He said the teenager thought he was going to Manchester to pick up a stash of drugs and had no prior knowledge of a firearm.
Mr Sutton added: “Pressure had been put on him and the message was made clear hat certain parties knew where he and his family lived.
“He was told to go to Manchester and take a quantity of cash and was given certain instructions.
“He handed the cash over and it was only then he realised what he was handling was a gun.
“There was an element of County Lines here in that those involved in drugs have used this young man to do their dirty work.”
Judge Tina Landale said: “Arrangements were made for the supply of a gun from Manchester to be taken some distance to Stevenage as a part of a criminal enterprise. There was no lawful purpose for these weapons.
“It is trite to say that too many lethal weapons are available, carried, distributed or used.”
“They have devastating consequences and are property described as a scourge on our society.”
Vasi was jailed for 12 years while Weaver was sentenced to five years in youth custody.