Two men have been jailed for their involvement in a plot to manufacture and supply firearms which were made at home using a 3D printer. Sibusiso Moyo and Christopher Gill were convicted of the charges in what is thought to be the first prosecution of its kind.
Police found the homemade guns alongside bullets and other gun-making equipment in raids at addresses in Bradford and Hull where the weapons were manufactured on a kitchen worktop and in a domestic garage. The weapons, described as a hybrid 3D printed gun with metal parts, were destined to be used in organised crime.
Officers stopped Bradford man Majeed Rehman, an associate of the pair, in his BMW car on 17 May last year. A search of the vehicle found an ‘FGC9’ homemade automatic sub-machine gun, magazine and bullets hidden in a supermarket bag-for-life in the rear footwell of the car. They had earlier seen a man, later identified as Gill, get into the BMW while carrying the bag.Further investigations led by the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (YH ROCU), found two further almost complete FGC9s in a holdall hidden in Gill’s loft.
Moyo, was later arrested and evidence obtained that he had been manufacturing FGC9’s at his home address in Hull where he had obtained two 3D printers and other component parts to make the weapons. They also found a range of other tools and parts, including springs and screws, that could be used to make the guns as instructed in an online manual. Evidence also included videos and pictures of the firearms at various stages of construction. These images were taken in residential premises which included Moyo’s kitchen and garage, as well as inside Gill’s home address.
Moyo’s DNA was also found on the weapon taken from the BMW.
The court heard that forensic firearms experts based at the Royal Armouries in Leeds had tested the seized items and confirmed they were viable firearms.
Appearing before Sheffield Crown Court for sentencing today:
Moyo, aged 41, of Elloughton Grove, Hull, who was found guilty of illegally manufacturing a firearm and a separate identity fraud offence following a trial, was jailed for 18 years.
Gill, 35, of Dick Lane, Tyersal, Bradford, who was found guilty of illegally manufacturing a firearm was jailed for 13 years, 8 months.
Rehman, aged 46, of Central Avenue, Little Horton, Bradford, was found guilty of possession of ammunition and conspiracy to transfer a prohibited firearm. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Speaking after the sentencing, Senior Investigating Officer Det Chf Inspector Andrew Howard of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (YH ROCU) said:
“Over recent times we have seen the tragic and devastating consequences that criminally-held firearms being used by offenders have caused.
“These include the fatal shootings of innocent people and the shattering of the lives of those close to them, not to mention the impact such incidents have on our communities.
“Today, two men who were involved in the manufacture, supply and distribution of privately-manufactured 3D printed automatic weapons have received significant sentences for their roles.
“Our investigation found that Sibusiso Moyo and Christopher Gill followed detailed instructions and systematically bought items used to manufacture and construct these deadly firearms and ammunition.
“They demonstrated levels of sophistication in the manufacture processes and successfully produced viable firearms.
“Majeeb Rehman a close criminal associate, was found guilty of distributing one of the viable FGC9, a 3D printed firearm with an ammunition clip containing eight live rounds of ammunition.
“Manufacture of viable 3D printed firearms is a real threat and these firearms were built for one purpose only, to be supplied to other organised criminals who would use them to inflict harm.
“This has been a ground breaking complex investigation supported by the National Crime Agency in to the new threat posed by 3D printed guns.
“I would like to pay tribute to the team of officers and staff who have shown tenacity and determination in successfully bringing this case to trial.
“Their professionalism has been recognised by the court today.
“These are officers that put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis to protect our communities from dangerous offenders armed with weapons.
“The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit welcome the sentences imposed by the court today.
“We are determined to keep the public safe by tackling those that chose to manufacture these lethal weapons.
“Those that do will be hunted down and will feel the full weight of the law and should expect to receive lengthy sentences.”
Matt Perfect, Operations Manager at the National Crime Agency (NCA) National Firearms Targeting Centre, said: “The NCA’s National Firearms Targeting Centre coordinates the national intelligence picture on firearms and played a key and decisive role in this investigation working alongside the YH ROCU.
“This OCG was the first in the UK convicted of trying to supply other criminal groups with 3D printed firearms.
“Gun crime in the UK continues to be relatively low compared to mainland Europe and is among the lowest in the world.
“However, demand for firearms in the criminal market continues. Suppressing their availability is therefore a national priority for the NCA and UK law enforcement.
“The NCA works closely with our policing partners at home and abroad to target criminals using firearms, and to cut off supply routes into the country as well as distribution within it.”