Six people who conspired to sell ammunition to criminals in London were jailed for a total of 77.5 years on Thursday, 30 May at Croydon Crown Court.
Manfred Kurz, 61 of Ashburton Road, Croydon, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years. He had previously pleaded guilty on 25 October 2018 to two counts of possession of ammunition and possession of explosive substances and on 1 November 2018 to two counts of possession of firearms and possession of the component parts of a firearm.
Sierra Denton, 31 of Cromer Road, South Norwood, was jailed for nine years. She had previously pleaded guilty on 9 November 2018 to conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Lorenzo Brooks, 29 of Crutchley Road, Catford was jailed for 20 years. On 13 March he was found guilty of conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons and possession of component parts of a firearms.
Sian Alexandra Miller, 25 of Stanger Road, South Norwood was jailed for 15 years. On 12 December 2018 she was found guilty of conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition.
Lukas Duncan, 22 of Guildford Avenue, Surbiton was jailed for 15 years. On 12 December 2018 he was found guilty of conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition.
Mishak Wright-Martin, 34 of Kennington Park Road, Kennington, SE11 was jailed for 11 years. On 12 December 2018 he was found guilty of conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition.
In sentencing, the judge commended Detective Constable Martin Reader from Trident and Area Crime Command for his ‘professional and expert’ detective work.
The court had previously heard how the crimes began when Manfred Kurz, a German national and keen firearms enthusiast, moved to the UK in around 2004, having previously served with the German army. Kurz had used his German firearms license to buy a huge amount of ammunition, which he subsequently smuggled into the UK.
The illegal ammunition later came to the notice of his niece Sian Miller, who realised money could be made by selling it to London’s criminal fraternity. Miller and Kurz then began to distribute the ammunition to contacts, for financial gain.
On 5 February 2018, officers from Trident executed a firearms warrant at Miller’s home address and found 1,800 rounds of ammunition of varying calibres, two firearms (pistols) and five prohibited weapons (CS spray).
Bullet-making equipment including empty cartridges, primers and black powder, which could be used to make live cartridge rounds, were also recovered.
Miller was arrested and as a result of their enquiries, officers carried out a second raid on Kurz’s address.
Kurz was arrested the same day and his house was searched. A large quantity of black explosive powder was found and this brought the total recovered to 20kg. Also seized at Kurz’s address was a single live .357 calibre cartridge and bullet-making equipment.
Detectives were aware that some of the ammunition had already been unlawfully distributed and they began urgent enquires to recover it.
Police established a link between Lorenzo Brooks and Lukas Duncan, a cousin of Sian Miller, who were both arrested for their part in the conspiracy to sell ammunition.
Trident detectives then carried out another raid on 23 April 2018, at the home address of Sierra Denton. Seized in this raid was another large quantity of ammunition. In total more than 3,100 rounds of ammunition, two incapacitant sprays and an ounce of heroin were found.
This arrest in turn led to the arrest of Denton’s boyfriend Mishak Wright-Martin.
The trial of Miller, Duncan and Wright-Martin concluded on 7 December 2018, but reporting restrictions remained in place while a separate trial for Lorenzo Brooks was held at the same court, starting on 4 March. Kurz and Wright-Martin had already pleaded guilty.
Detective Constable Martin Reader, of the Trident and Area Crime Command, said: “I am pleased that these individuals have received very significant sentences, demonstrating the gravity of these offences. The recovery of this haul of ammunition and black powder represents one of the Met’s largest-ever seizures of ammunition and explosive substances in recent times.
“A huge amount of ammunition has been recovered, which we believe was destined to be sold to criminals with gang connections. This amount of firepower in the hands of the criminal fraternity is a truly terrifying thought.
“Thankfully the rapid action of Trident officers has taken this weaponry off the streets before it could be used, and for that, every person who lives in, or visits, our capital should be thankful.
“I believe the action of Met officers has saved lives and brought these people to justice, who put their own greed above the safety of their community.”