Sussex

Hailsham 'gun factory linked to attempted murders'

Hailsham industrial estate Image copyright Jessup/Mitchell
Image caption A unit at an industrial estate in Hailsham was raided in August 2018

Handguns manufactured at an East Sussex industrial estate were used in two attempted murders, a court has heard.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) found a factory capable of producing semi-automatic pistols when officers raided a building in Hailsham in August 2018, Kingston Crown Court heard.

Weapons from the factory were sold to London criminals and were linked to eight crime scenes, the court was told.

Kyle Wood, 29, denies conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons.

Matthew Farmer, prosecuting, told the court: "There is no doubt these guns found their way on to the street and are being used.

"On two occasions these pistols were used in attempted murder where people were shot."

A bullet manufactured at the East Sussex site was found lodged in a victim's chest after a shooting in Wandsworth, London, in September 2018, Mr Farmer said.

The same weapon was linked by a forensic scientist to a shooting in Brixton in October, the court heard.

'Caught red-handed'

Ammunition or weapons were also found in Croydon, Kingston-upon-Thames, Basingstoke, Finsbury Park, and Kilburn, north London.

The court heard that officers found a Browning 1922 pistol at the industrial unit, which they believe was used as a template.

Mr Wood, of Littlehampton, West Sussex, admitted possessing a pistol and 24 rounds of ammunition in October after being "caught red-handed with a Browning 1922 pistol", the jury heard.

Jurors were told two men had already pleaded guilty to their part in the conspiracy.

Mark Kinman, 63, who admitted the manufacture of the guns, died last year.

Greg Akehurst, of no fixed address, has admitted possession of a loaded firearm and ammunition, and conspiracy to sell or supply prohibited weapons.

Mr Wood's trial continues.

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