Birmingham family jailed for 'Aladdin's Cave of weapons'

image source, West Midlands Police
image captionBates, his son and nephew were convicted at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday

An illegal family-run firearms operation which supplied bullets linked to a murder has been dismantled by police.

Wild West convention enthusiast father Kevin Bates ran an "Aladdin's cave" of weapons from his Birmingham home, helped by his son, daughter and nephew.

Police said the family maintained an "impeccable facade".

Ringleader Bates was jailed for 23 years. The other defendants received sentences from 16 months to 20 years.

Registered firearms holder Kevin Bates, 56, and son Connor, 23, were arrested at their address in North Roundhay, Birmingham.

image source, West Midlands Police
image captionTrudy Bates and Imran Khan were also convicted on Friday

Judge Francis Laird QC said, at Birmingham Crown Court, the property revealed an "Aladdin's Cave of weapons" including cartridges and an illicit ammunition production line.

Forensic testing linked the Bates' manufacturing and sale operation - which involved his son, daughter Trudy, nephew Nathan and friend Imran Khan - to 24 crime scenes including the murder of Carl Campbell in West Bromwich High Street in 2016.

image source, West Midlands Police
image captionOfficers discovered makeshift workshops in Bates' garage and utility space
  • Bates admitted three counts of having a banned firearm and was convicted after trial of having another prohibited weapon. He was also found guilty of having banned guns for sale and conspiring to move prohibited guns and ammunition. He was jailed for 23 years
  • Connor admitted conspiring to supply ammunition, was convicted of five counts of having banned guns, having prohibited weapons for sale, and conspiring to sell or move banned firearms on. He was sentenced to 20 years behind bars
  • Bates' 26-year-old daughter, Trudy Bates, of Peplow Road, Birmingham, was convicted after trial of conspiring to sell ammunition, she will not be sentenced until April 6
  • Bates' nephew Nathan Bates, 30, of Heathway, was convicted for conspiracy to sell ammunition, and was jailed for 42 months
  • Imran Khan, 36, of Murrell Close, Edgbaston, pleaded guilty to supplying ammunition and was sentenced to 16 months in prison
image source, West Midlands Police
image captionIllegal pistols were discovered at Bates' property

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