A West Sussex man conspired to sell pistols to the criminal underworld that were later used in attempted murders, prosecutors say.
When officers raided an industrial unit in The Diplocks, Hailsham in August last year they found parts for 121 lethal pistols, and evidence others had already been sold to the criminal underworld, a court has heard.
Kyle Wood, 29, of Gratwicke Drive in Wick, Littlehampton, is charged with conspiring to sell or transfer prohibited weapons and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. He denies the offences.
His trial began today at Kingston Crown Court.
Pistols used in two attempted murders
Wood was arrested along with ‘manufacturer’ Mark Kinman and Greg Akehurst when officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) raided the industrial unit on August 18, last year.
Prosecutor Matthew Farmer said: “They discovered the existence of a factory that was manufacturing self-loading pistols which were to be sold or transferred into the hands of the criminal underworld.
“An unknown number had already made their way into the hands of criminals and they were seized by police in and around London along with ammunition.
“On two occasions these pistols were used in attempted murder where people were shot.”
Indeed on one occasion one of the bullets manufactured in Hailsham was found lodged in somebody’s chest.
The Hailsham pistols have been linked to eight crime scenes in and around London from which six have been recovered.
Guns being manufactured on an 'industrial scale'
According to the prosecution, the guns were being copied from a Browning 1922 self-loading pistol, which was being used as a template.
Mark Kinman – who died before he could face trial – pleaded guilty last year to manufacturing the pistols.
Prosecutor Matthew Farmer described the operation as 'industrial scale' manufacturing.
Greg Akehurst, previously listed as of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded firearm and ammunition which were found upon him when he was arrested on August 18, the court heard.
He also admitted conspiracy to sell or supply the pistols and possession with intent to cause a person to believe that unlawful violence would be used against them.
Wood chased and Tasered by police
When police and NCA officers raided the industrial unit in August last year Wood fled the scene and was chased.
Wood was Tasered and detained and officers found one of the pistols in his possession, along with 24 rounds of ammunition, the prosecutor said.
Kyle Wood pleaded guilty to possession of the pistol and ammunition found upon him but denies possession of the firearm with intent to endanger life.
He also denies conspiring to sell or transfer prohibited weapons.
The trial continues.