Glasgow & West Scotland

Men guilty over guns bound for Scotland dumped at Carlisle train station

British Transport Police officer
Image caption The guns were discovered after police opened bags left at Carlisle train station

Two men have been convicted of being involved in a plot to buy guns and ammunition destined for Scotland.

The £3,500 consignment was discovered after being abandoned at Carlisle railway station in August last year.

During a trial at Liverpool Crown Court, Barry Kelly and Craig Colquhoun denied trying to buy the stash.

Two other men who supplied the weapons, William Dempsey, a serving soldier, and Martin Ashdown, pleaded guilty to firearm offences.

The trial heard that Dempsey, 29, a private serving with the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland in Canterbury got off a Scotland bound train at Carlisle on 17 August 2012.

He was dressed in desert combat uniform and carrying two camouflage bags. He told station staff he thought he was being followed by police and asked them to look after the bags.

When he did not return British Transport Police opened the bags. As well as a form bearing Dempsey's name, rank and number, officers also discovered the illegal haul of guns and ammunition.

The consignment involved an Uzi sub-machine gun and silencer, a shortened 12 bore double barrel shotgun, a 6.35mm handgun - all in working order - and 136 cartridges for the weapons and a further 58 revolver cartridges.

Potential purchaser

A mobile phone was also found and data from this item led to the arrest of three other men, said Nicholas Kennedy, prosecuting.

Mr Kennedy said that Ashdown, 32, was the source of the firearms and Dempsey, through his friendship with him, was able to provide a potential purchaser for them and was facilitator of the deal.

He said that Kelly, formerly from Darvel in Ayrshire, was the purchaser and that Colquhoun, from Barrhead near Glasgow, was his "right hand man and played an important role in the sale and purchase of firearms".

He told the jury that the proof of the conspiracies lay in communications between the defendants in texts, Blackberry messages and phone calls.

Mr Kennedy said that £3,500 was paid into Dempsey's bank account by Colquhoun on 16 August and it was withdrawn in Canterbury the same day.

Dempsey was arrested in Carlisle and Kelly was arrested in December.

The court heard that when Kelly's home was searched more than £20,000 was found in his loft and a further £180 in a wallet in the living room.

Colquhoun was also arrested on the same day at a house in Barrhead and Ashdown was arrested in Canterbury.

The jury found Kelly and Colquhoun guilty of five offences involving conspiring to sell prohibited weapons and conspiring to purchase a shotgun and cartridges without a licence between 12 and 17 August last year.

The two men were remanded in custody and will be sentenced along with Dempsey and Ashdown on 25 October.

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