Lives saved" as WMP seizes 100-plus firearms so far in 2018

McDonald saw off shotgun 1

West Midlands Police has taken more than 100 firearms off the region’s streets so far this year - recoveries that have “undoubtedly saved lives" according to the officer leading the fight against gangs in Birmingham.

The haul includes deadly handguns, sawn-off shotguns and even a semi-automatic pistol that was forensically linked to a fatal shooting in Nottingham six years earlier.

And officers working in the Birmingham Organised Crime & Gangs Unit have also seized a crudely constructed homemade shotgun made out of two pieces of steel tubing to fire cartridges.

Inspector Al Teague heads up the unit. He said: “Taking 104 firearms off the streets and out of the reach of dangerous criminals is a great achievement: it shows that we’re acting on quality intelligence to target the right people

“That’s on average about one gun West Midlands Police is seizing every other day and there is no doubt in my mind that this work is saving lives."

The seizures include a sawn-off shotgun and bullet-proof vest found in the loft of Lee McDonald’s home in Hillsmead Road, Kings Norton, during a West Midlands Police raid on 15 March.

He was later jailed for eight years.

Ryan Kopacz is also now behind bars after the force executed a warrant at his Barretts Road home - also in Kings Norton - on 12 April where one handgun was found in a stairs cupboard and another in a lean-to. He was given a five-year prison sentence.

And last week mum-of-two Selina Jarrett was also jailed for five years after the Gangs Unit found a loaded Glock semi-automatic pistol stashed in a hallway cupboard of her home in Bellevue, Edgbaston, on March 16.

Ballistics experts from NABIS - the National Ballistics Intelligence Service - test fired the pistol and microscopic examination of the bullet markings indicated the same weapon was used in the fatal shooting of Malakai McKenzie in Nottingham on 21 April 2012.

Det Insp Teague added: “The mini Glock, an American make, is not a firearm we commonly recover. It is a highly effective weapon and would be worth thousands on the black market, especially with the ammunition it had with it.

“I’ve no doubt that the recovery of that weapon has prevented people from being seriously injured and even possible further murders. Each one of the rounds recovered constitutes a potential murder that we’ve now prevented."

February saw the most firearms recovered in a single month this year - with a total of 15 being found - followed by May (14) and March (13). Three firearms have so far been seized during October.

Anyone who suspects someone is in possession of an illegal firearm, or is storing one at their home, is asked to call the force on 999 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Callers will not be asked their name and the call cannot be traced.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2020

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