Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He Was Armourer to the Underworld; 'COTTAGE INDUSTRY' SAW LETHAL WEAPONS MADE IN SHED

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He Was Armourer to the Underworld; 'COTTAGE INDUSTRY' SAW LETHAL WEAPONS MADE IN SHED

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter rob.kennedy@ncjmedia.co.uk

ARMOURER to the underworld Andrew Bedford made lethal weapons in his garden shed and sold them to criminal gangs.

The ex-squaddie converted blank firing pistols into deadly guns capable of killing and maiming.

A court heard he also made silencers for Glock-style weapons and had 48 rounds of ammunition.

When police raided his Newcastle semi last year they found one of the guns under a bed at the home where he lived with his partner and young child, and three more in the shed.

Thirty one of the weapons he handled remain unaccounted for while two later turned up in Liverpool.

During the raid at Bedford's home on Ouston Street, in Scotswood, police evacuated the area and called in bomb disposal experts after mistakenly thinking steel pipes used to make silencers were pipe bombs.

Now Bedford, who told staff at the city centre gun shop where he bought the blank firing pistols he was using them for army training purposes, has been jailed for six years and nine months at Newcastle Crown Court.

Judge Edward Bindloss told him: "Although this was something of a cottage industry, it was a large scale operation and further orders were in the pipeline and they were transferred to the criminal underworld.

"A pistol was found under a bed in the property where you lived with your partner and 11-year-old child, who may have come across this weapon.

"The weapons represent a serious public danger. These are lethal weapons.

"You transferred them on for money to others for their use."

Police raided Bedford's home on January 17 last year and carried out a search.

When they looked in his shed they found three converted firearms and ammunition. Prosecutor Jolyon Perks said: "There was concern there were pipe bombs and the area was evacuated and a cordon was put round the address.

"A bomb disposal team came to examine and the Ministry of Defence said they were in fact silencers, or sound moderators, which were capable of attaching to the converted firearms in the property."

Under a bed in the house, police found another converted handgun in a holster. …

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