Family turned house into gun factory to supply underworld
ABIRMINGHAM family who made bullets and guns to order for criminals from their terraced Birmingham house have been jailed for a total of 47 years.
Head of the family Kevin Bates – a dad-of-five with 13 grandchildren – was a Wild West enthusiast who had legally held a firearms certificate for most of his life.
But his family took orders for ammunition and gun modifications from criminals, and made them in a workshop in their mid-terraced house in Kitts Green.
Police have linked the ammo and guns they made to at least 24 crimes, including the 2016 murder of Carl Campbell in West Bromwich.
At Birmingham Crown Court, Kevin Bates, his son Connor, nephew Nathan, and Connor’s friend, Imran Khan, were sentenced for their parts in the trade.
Daughter Trudy Bates is also facing charges relating to the enterprise and will be sentenced on April 6. A previous trial had heard how Kevin Bates, 55, and Connor, 23, were arrested after their home in North Roundhay was raided in September 2106.
Police found five illegal firearms and nearly 4,000 bullets and cartridges.
Kevin Bates held a firearms certificate that allowed him to have a number of rifles and revolvers in a locked cabinet under the stairs.
But when police searched the premises they found makeshift workshops in the garage and utility room that were being used to shorten shotgun barrels and modify ammunition.
Police also found a safe containing two revolvers and a single shot pistol. A modified Olympic .38 double action revolver was found in the garage, and equipment for making a rifle round that could fit an AK47 machine gun, as well as 49 live rounds of ammunition, were seized.
The trial heard how Kevin Bates had a leather notebook which was a “recipe book” with instructions on how to make bullets for the illegal guns. A search of Connor’s car found 9mm bullet cartridges in sandwich bags, along with a SIM card.
Connor was linked to an address in Bushbury Road, Kitts Green, where a price list for various modified ammunition was recovered.
Imran Khan, an associate of Connor, and Nathan Bates were found to be involved in the conspiracy after phone records linked them to the ongoing sale of ammunition.
Kevin Bates was jailed for 23 years after pleading guilty to three counts of possessing a prohibited firearm, and was convicted of two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a prohibited weapons for sale or transfer, conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons and ammunition.
Connor Bates admitted to conspiring to supply ammunition. He was convicted of five counts of possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm for sale or transfer and conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons. He was jailed for 20 years.
Nathan Bates, 30, of The Heathway, Shard End, was jailed for 42 months after being convicted of conspiracy to supply ammunition, possession of firearms, and conspiracy to supply firearms. Imran Khan, 36, of Ottawa Tower, Edgbaston, had previously admitted conspiracy to supply ammunition and was jailed for 16 months.
> From left: Kevin Bates, Connor Bates, Nathan Bates, Trudy Bates and Imran Khan
> Just a small part of the haul of guns and ammunition seized by police