How search ended at a Gloucestershire cottage
Man behind the bullets
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