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20th Oct, 2021

Man jailed for 21 years for importing firearms into country

Laura Kearns 4th Jul, 2018 Updated: 4th Jul, 2018

A STRATFORD man has been jailed for 21 years for his part in importing firearms into the country.

Lee Cullen, 46 of The Avenue in Stratford, was one of four men jailed for conspiracy to supply prohibited firearms and ammunition.

Cullen, along with Laurence McCarthy, 44, of Tiddington Close, Birmingham, Paul Frith, 43, of School Lane, Shard End, Birmingham and Sean Edwards, 36, of Roshven Road, Birmingham were jailed for nearly 75 years in prison collectively at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (June 29).

It follows a joint investigation by the Regional Organised Crime Unit, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police.

In June 2017, a Vauxhall Insignia being driven by Frith was stopped by officers in Birmingham. Concealed in the boot were two handguns and 25 rounds of live ammunition. Cullen and Edwards were passengers in the vehicle, and all three were arrested.

A subsequent investigation found McCarthy had imported the weapons from France, and had ordered eight blank firing replica pistols, which would later be converted to fire live ammunition. He was arrested in September 2017 in connection with the investigation.

Cullen has been jailed for 21 years and eight months, McCarthy for 20 years, Frith for 19 years and Edwards for 14 years.

A spokesman from West Midlands Regional and Organised Crime Unit, said: “We are pleased with this result which is the culmination of many months of investigation, working with colleagues across our region to tackle the problem of serious organised crime.

“These men will now face substantial prison sentences for their involvement in these offences, and thanks to the diligence of officers and other investigating staff, we have been able to reduce the availability of weapons on our streets.

“I hope that this successful prosecution will encourage others who may have information regarding organised crime to come forward, and will send the message to those considering committing these offences that we will robustly investigate them and will ensure they are brought to justice.”

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