Man jailed for modifying guns and trying to smuggle weapons into UK

Simon Williams was jailed for nine years at Ipswich Crown Court 

Simon Williams was jailed for nine years at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A Suffolk man who tried to smuggle banned weapons into the UK and modified guns at his home to sell on the internet has been jailed. 

Police found an "arsenal" of guns and other weapons at the Glemsford home of 47-year-old Simon Williams - including two homemade stun devices - after officers raided the property, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

Intelligence was received on September 29 that a seller going by the name of 'Steve' was advertising the sale of two firearms via a legal online gun marketplace - one priced at £370, the other £1,000. 

Mitchell Cohen, prosecuting, said a phone number was given by the seller and a warrant was then executed by police on October 2. 

The search revealed a number of guns, knives, and ammunition, and a shed contained a number of tools and components for weapons, the court heard. 

Among the weapons seized at Williams' home were two converted Atak Arms Zoraki gas alarm pistols with a barrel less than 30cm in length and a converted Retay blank firing pistol.

Upon his arrest, Williams, who did not hold a firearms certificate, told officers: "It is something I did. It is all my fault." 

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However, just a few months following his arrest, Border Force intercepted two separate packages destined for Williams' home at Coventry International Airport. 

The first package, seized on January 31, 2022, contained flick knives while the other, intercepted on February 2, 2022, contained metal shocking prongs, Mr Cohen said. 

Williams, of Kings Road, Glemsford, pleaded guilty to nine charges in total, including four counts of possessing a prohibited firearm, two offences of possessing a prohibited weapon, possessing ammunition without a firearms certificate, and attempting to evade the prohibition on the importation of prohibited weapons. 

He also admitted possessing a knife in a public place when a flick knife was found in his car in Kings Road. 

Joanne Eley, mitigating, said Williams' carpet cleaning business had been severely hampered by the coronavirus pandemic and he found himself in financial difficulty. 

She said he was "naïve" to the seriousness of the offending, and had shown "huge remorse" for what he had done. 

Ms Eley added her client had a number of mental health issues. 

Jailing Williams for a total of nine years on Friday, Judge Emma Peters told him: "The arms trade in this country is carefully regulated to avoid the kind of tragedy we have seen in America this week. 

"You really had no idea where those firearms were going to end up."