Gun dealers jailed for more than 50 years

Khan and Harkin Credit: West Midlands Police

Two men from Birmingham who supplied sawn-off shotguns to organised crime groups have been jailed for more than 55 years, after a joint investigation by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Mohammed Rafiq Khan, aged 29 from Bordesley Green and Michael Harkin, aged 54, from Yardley, were sourcing the weapons and distributing them to criminal associates across the West Midlands.

Khan was also the head of a drug dealing network which distributed class A drugs across the region with eight of his accomplices also locked up for more than 60 years at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday (1 November).

Investigations found 68 year-old John Spencer Booth, a registered firearms dealer from Derbyshire, converted lawfully held firearms for Harkin and Khan by shortening barrels and removing serial numbers from shotguns.

A total of 14 sawn-off shotguns were recovered and more than five kilos of Class A drugs were distributed through the illegal operations.

Khan, who was detained at Shrewsbury train station in February, was found in possession of five mobile phones, over £1,500 in cash and tickets to Dubai.

Harkin and his partner Lucy Wilkie were both arrested in October after officers searched their home in South Yardley and recovered three sawn-off shotguns.

A further search conducted at the address of acquaintances Vineeta Kainth and Mark Adkins resulted in the recovery of shotgun parts, including sawn-off barrels and ammunition.

Joel Martin, who was part of Khan’s drug dealing network, was arrested in possession of wraps of crack cocaine and heroin. Officers searched his home address and found approximately £15,000 worth of drugs.

Further enquiries led police to Mark Jones who was found with bags of heroin he was storing for Khan; while mother and daughter Anthea and Kareen Bagnall were caught with heroin and crack cocaine after being stopped in a car in Birmingham.

Jones, Kareen and Anthea Bagnall were drug runners responsible for the distribution of Class A substances from Birmingham to outer city locations, known as a County Lines network.

Clockwise from top left: Martin, Jones, Kareen Bagnall and Anthea Bagnall Credit: West Midlands Police

Harkin, of Kestrel Avenue, Yardley, pleaded guilty to distributing a firearm and conspiracy to distribute firearms along with possession of ammunition. He was also convicted of a further count of distributing firearms and jailed for 25 years.

Khan, of Colonial Road, Bordesley Green, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute firearms and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 33 years.

Their acquaintances were sentenced as follows:

  • Booth, of Meadowside, Ashbourne, admitted possession of firearms for sale offences and was jailed for 12 years.

  • Wilkie, 28, of Kestrel Avenue, Yardley, admitted possession of firearms and was sentenced to eight years.

  • Adkins, 48, of Eastpits Road, Yardley, was found guilty of possession of ammunition and was given a jail term of three-and-a-half years.

  • Kainth, 36, of Eastpits Road, Yardley, was convicted of possession of ammunition and was given a two year suspended sentence.

  • Martin, 31, of Little Hall Road, Nechells, was convicted for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and received 10 years.

  • Jones, 44, of Midland Croft, Kitts Green, was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and received a sentence of 10 years.

  • Anthea Bagnall, 54, of Welshpool, admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was given nine years imprisonment

  • Kareen Bagnall, 22, of Welshpool, was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and locked up for nine years.

Detective Inspector James Mahon, from the West Midlands Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said:

This was a complex investigation but has led to significant prison sentences and illegally held guns and drugs being removed from the streets. These converted sawn off shotguns had the potential to be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands; while drugs can ruin lives and communities.

Detective Inspector James Mahon, West Midlands Police