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Gun maker Thomas Keatley busted in Dartford is jailed for nine years
AN ILLEGAL armourer who was busted in Dartford with an 19th century revolver has been jailed for a raft of gun offences.
Thomas Keatley, 28, was stopped by police driving along the Littlebrook Interchange of the A282 in June and told officers "I know why you're here, it's in the glove box."
A Forehand and Wadsworth revolver, manufactured between 1871 and 1890, was found wrapped in a Morrison’s bag.
Three days later officers from Metropolitan Police Service's anti-gun Trident Gang Crime Command unit raided a garage in Crawley and discovered hundreds of bullets, a partially made gun and gun-making equipment.
Other items seized during the two-day search included one pistol magazine, one rifle charger clip, four dummy cartridges, two bottles of smokeless propellant for loading into shotgun and handgun cartridges, bullet lubricant and assorted gun care products.
A USB memory stick was recovered hidden in a block of wood with a metal plate on top of it.
The memory stick contained 18 internet manuals on how to make both handguns and automatic machine guns along with manuals on how to reload both handgun and shotgun ammunition.
Bank account enquiries showed Keatley had purchased the majority of the firearms items recovered from the garage online in 2012 from stores in both America and the UK.
On Monday Keatley, from Sussex, was jailed for nine years and four months at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to the offences on June 28 at the same court.
He was sentenced to five years for one count of possession of a prohibited weapon, namely a Forehand & Wadsworth double action .38 gate loading revolver; three years for one count of attempting to manufacture a prohibited weapon, namely an improvised single shot pistol.
These sentences will run consecutively.
The 19th Century Forehand & Wadsworth double action .38 gate loading revolver.
Detective Inspector Paul Dorey, of Trident Gang Crime Command, said: "This is a significant result for Trident and the MPS together with Sussex and Kent Police.
"The seizure of the firearms, gun-making equipment and bullet cartridges has without doubt prevented lethal weaponry entering the hands of criminal networks operating in London and the Home Counties.
"On arrest, Keatley looked to hide behind firearm legislation to prevent prosecution. He stated he had purchased the antique revolver from a registered firearm dealer in Kent and as such, it was not a prohibited firearm.
The partially-constructed single shot pistol found in the garage.
"However when the weight of evidence was compiled against him he had no choice but to change his stance and admit to all firearm charges.
"This operation also demonstrates how Trident, and our police colleagues from around the UK, will work across both county and borough boundaries in order to arrest and place before the courts criminals who are involved in gun crime and gang-related criminal activity."
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