Paul Edmunds turned antique weapons back into lethal weapons (Picture: SWNS)
A elderly gun dealer convicted of illegally supplying pistols and ammunition to criminals has left a legacy of lethal weapons on Britain’s streets.
Detectives said the seizure of 50,000 rounds of ammunition and guns imported or brought back into service by Paul Edmunds was a ‘major victory’ on gun crime, which had undoubtedly saved lives.
But while 17 pistols linked to Edmunds have been taken out of circulation, police are still looking for 207 weapons.
Meanwhile, officers have also recovered about 1,000 of his hand-crafted rounds from crime scenes, but shells are ‘still coming in’ more than two years after his arrest.
His manufacturing operation spread the length and breadth of the country, from Nottingham and Birmingham to London, Manchester and Sheffield.
Edmunds left a legacy of potentially lethal weapons on Britain’s streets (Picture: SWNS)
At least nine police forces came across weapons and ammunition linked through forensic testing to the 66-year-old and his garage workshop.
He side-stepped UK laws on importing old guns for which ammunition was commercially available, by falsely declaring that they were obsolete ‘antiques’.
The guns, whose importation is subject to complex rules, were not checked in any detail at UK customs.
Trial judge Richard Bond described how he had been ‘aghast to hear evidence of one dealer being waved-through on occasion by customs at Heathrow’.
Self-confessed ‘ammunition freak’ Edmunds, who was a firearms certificate holder, made 37 trips to the United States, checking in the guns as ‘antiques and curiosities’.
Edmunds had three armouries at his home in Hardwicke (Picture: SWNS)
Many of the guns were antique revolvers but he also imported Colt pistols from the 1950s following trips to Chicago, Las Vegas and Denver.
Six French-made St Etienne revolvers seized at crime scenes were also linked to Edmunds.
A weapon imported on November 14, 2013, was used five weeks later in the Boxing Day murder-shooting at the Avalon nightclub in London.
Four of Edmunds’ bullets were recovered from the victim’s body.
Edmunds, from Bristol Road, Hardwicke, Gloucestershire, machine-tooled cartridges in out-of-date calibres, bringing the guns back to life.
He had an ‘encyclopaedic’ knowledge of guns (Picture: SWNS)
All those guns could be classed as antiques, because they were more than 100 years old and had ammunition no longer commercially available.
Edmunds sold the weapons and cartridges to Mohinder Surdhar, who fenced them on to Sundish Nazran.
But ballistics experts found the same microscopic markings on each of the slugs, confirming there was a single ammunition-maker.
Detectives then followed a trail of invoices back to Edmunds.