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Six Individuals Jailed for Operating Gun Factory in Berkshire

Last Friday, six individuals, including a delivery driver and a former child footballing talent, were sentenced for their involvement in operating a ‘gun factory’ within a Wokingham townhouse. The sentencing, which took place at Reading Crown Court, saw the gang members collectively handed prison terms totalling nearly 100 years.

This marked the conclusion of a high-stakes case involving a substantial conspiracy to reactivate handguns and distribute them to criminals across southern England. Judge Kirsty Real presided over the trial and the subsequent sentencing.

The defendants involved in the gun factory operation were:

  1. Kenneth Britton, 34, of Spencer Road, Bracknell
  2. Benjamin Phillips, 43, of London Road, Wokingham
  3. Mark Dyson, 43, of Llangar Grove, Crowthorne
  4. Jacob Peters, 37, of Brunswick Hill, Reading
  5. Danny Walker, 34, of Simmonds Close, Bracknell
  6. Katie Lee, 31, of Humber Way, Sandhurst

All were convicted of conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons and conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition, in addition to several individual charges.

During the trial, Judge Real outlined the case, revealing that on October 31, 2022, the police conducted a raid at Benjamin Phillips’ residence in Wokingham. The officers discovered and seized 13 functioning handguns, as well as ammunition and numerous gun parts.

In total, the police recovered 41 converted or potentially convertible firearms from the scene. Furthermore, a gun ‘workstation’ was discovered in the kitchen of the property, which had been utilized by Benjamin Phillips, described as the gang’s “armourer,” to convert deactivated firearms. These deactivated firearms were found scattered across the ground floor of the house.

At the time of the raid, Kenneth Britton, Benjamin Phillips, and Katie Lee were arrested. The other defendants were linked to the investigation at a later stage.

The gang members each had different roles and levels of involvement, with Britton and Phillips identified as the ringleaders. They are believed to have had connections to criminals in Bracknell, London, and across southwest England.

Although the number of sales made from Phillips’ home remains unclear, Judge Real stated that it appeared to be a “sophisticated and lucrative” criminal operation.

Mark Dyson, a delivery driver for HSS Hire, played the role of the gang’s courier, transporting weapons and ammunition in his Volkswagen Touran. Dyson claimed at trial that this arrangement was part of a deal he made with Britton after receiving the car as a gift.

Involved in the transportation and storage of firearms was Jacob Peters, who, according to Judge Real, participated in the scheme to settle a drug debt.

Weapons procurement was handled by Danny Walker, who had previously been sentenced on January 26 for threatening his ex-girlfriend by sending her a photo of one of the firearms.

Katie Lee, Britton’s former partner, played a much smaller role than the other defendants. She primarily served as a driver, assisting Britton in running the operation. Judge Real acknowledged that their relationship had “abusive” elements but determined that Lee was not directly coerced into participating in the scheme.

Kenneth Britton, previously a “talented” footballer in his youth, was sentenced to 18 years and nine months in prison, while Benjamin Phillips received an identical sentence. Danny Walker was sentenced to 12 years, Mark Dyson to 10 years, and Jacob Peters to nine years. Katie Lee received a shorter sentence of three years and nine months due to her limited involvement.

Each defendant will be required to serve at least half of their sentence before becoming eligible for release on license.

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