How search ended at a Glouces­ter­shire cot­tage

Man be­hind the bul­lets

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Steven Morris

The mod­est cot­tage in Glouces­ter­shire Paul Ed­munds shared with his part­ner does not look like a gang­ster hide­away.

How­ever, po­lice have es­tab­lished that weapons and am­mu­ni­tion sourced or made by Ed­munds were passed on to an or­gan­ised crime group called the Burger Bar gang, which hit the head­lines in 2003 when Char­lene Ellis, 18, and Letisha Shake­speare, 17, were caught in the cross­fire of a New Year’s Day drive-by shoot­ing in Birm­ing­ham.

They also dis­cov­ered that the link be­tween Ed­munds and the gang was a Birm­ing­ham-based phys­io­ther­a­pist, Mo­hin­der Sur­d­har. The net be­gan to close in on the pair when the Na­tional Bal­lis­tics In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice (Nabis) no­ticed that since 2009, par­tic­u­larly in the West Mid­lands, po­lice were re­cov­er­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of an­tique hand­guns and adapted am­mu­ni­tion.

Af­ter the Dun­blane school mas­sacre it be­came harder for crim­i­nals to source new hand­guns. One way round this is to use an­tique pis­tols with spe­cially cre­ated am­mu­ni­tion. Nabis re­alised that much of the am­mu­ni­tion they were re­cov­er­ing had been made with the same equip­ment. Among the crime scenes they an­a­lysed was a dis­tur­bance in Birm­ing­ham dur­ing the 2011 riots when a po­lice he­li­copter was fired upon. A 19th-cen­tury pis­tol and bul­lets were among the ev­i­dence re­cov­ered.

Nabis made a con­nec­tion be­tween ma­te­rial found at the scene of the riot to the shoot­ing of Has­san Omer Is­man, 31, who was killed dur­ing a pri­vate party in a London club in 2013, and that of Derek My­ers, 25, who was shot dead out­side a snooker club in Birm­ing­ham in 2015.

The hunt was on for the per­son dis­tribut­ing the weapons – and the per­son mak­ing the am­mu­ni­tion.

At­ten­tion first fo­cused on the Burger Bar gang. Us­ing sur­veil­lance, anal­y­sis of phone records and foren­sic sci­ence po­lice were to se­cure the con­vic­tions of 16 gang mem­bers. Some were caught as they supplied an­tique guns and am­mu­ni­tion. The big­gest scalps were the gang leader Nosakhere (Nosa) Stephen­son and his right-hand man and chief ar­mourer Sundish Nazran. But the in­ves­ti­ga­tion did not stop there. Po­lice dis­cov­ered that Nazran had an un­ex­pected con­tact – Sur­d­har.

Sur­d­har was a firearms cer­tifi­cate holder and was per­mit­ted to pos­sess ri­fles and shot­guns but not hand­guns. At his home, po­lice found a com­plete ar­moury with sub­stan­tial quan­ti­ties of am­mu­ni­tion and the tools to make more. When they went through his pa­pers, they came across a re­ceipt with an­other name – Paul Ed­munds.

He was a li­censed firearms dealer per­mit­ted to pos­sess hand­guns, ri­fles and shot­guns. Po­lice ar­ranged to meet him in June 2015 at a gun fair in Soli­hull. Of­fi­cers no­ticed two bags of bul­lets un­der the ta­ble where he was sit­ting sim­i­lar to those they had re­cov­ered.

Ed­munds agreed to meet of­fi­cers two days later at his home. He showed them his ar­moury in his garage. A month later, of­fi­cers re­turned for a full search. They found two fur­ther ar­mouries, packed with bul­lets and gun parts and bul­let-mak­ing equip­ment that matched the “fin­ger­print” of the am­mu­ni­tion found at many crime scenes.

Po­lice came across Paul Ed­munds’ name on a re­ceipt while search­ing the home of Mo­hin­der Sur­d­har, who supplied the Burger Bar gang

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