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Lambeth pair sentenced for firearms charges

31/07/2009

Two brothers who imported firearms into the UK before selling them on in London have been sentenced at Inner London Crown Court.

19 year old Jerome Aitcheson has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and 21 year old Ricardo Aitcheson has been sentenced to six years in prison. The pair ran their business from their bedroom in Lambeth.

Following a two and a half week trial at Inner London Crown Court, Jerome was convicted of four counts of possessing firearms, one count of possessing a prohibited firearm, one count of conspiracy to transfer prohibited firearms, one count of conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, four counts of purchasing firearms without a certificate and one count of possessing criminal property.

Ricardo was convicted of one count of conspiracy to transfer prohibited firearms and two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon.

CPS London lawyer Andrew Held said:

"These are two dangerous men. Jerome Aitcheson brought weapons into this country in order to make financial gain by selling them onto other people.

The actions of both defendants contributed to the increasing problem of gun crime which is blighting London and, in particular, Lambeth.

I am pleased at the convictions secured as convictions for supplying guns are rare. But by prosecuting more of the people who supply the guns we will go some way to cutting down on gun crime."

In 2008 Jerome Aitcheson began placing orders for firearms on an American website. In total, four orders were made and they are as follows:

On 19 May 2008 he ordered one flare gun and one flare gun insert. This order was delivered to him on 27 May 2008.

On 9 June 2008 he ordered three flare guns, three flare gun inserts and two police batons. Only the three flare gun inserts were delivered on 24 July 2008.

On 7 July 2008 he ordered two flare guns, two flare gun inserts and two knives. This was delivered on 11 July 2008.

On 29 July 2008 he ordered seven flare guns and four flare gun inserts. This was delivered on 5 August 2008.

In the UK you need a valid firearms certificate to legally have these weapons. When the second order (placed on 9 June 2008) was going through the postal service it was selected for a spot check by Her Majestys Revenue and Customs (HMRC). When it was discovered to contain firearms the parcel was seized and police were informed.

On 8 August 2008 following investigations, police raided Jerome and Ricardo Aitchesons home, where they found five flare guns. One of the weapons had been modified to enable it to fire 12 bore shotgun rounds.

During the course of the investigation, the police found three similarly modified flare guns elsewhere in London which had been supplied by the defendants. Two of these weapons were loaded with shotgun rounds.

CPS London lawyer Andrew Held said:

We were able to put a lot of evidence before the jury. In total 11 flare guns were recovered, five of those were in the defendants home address, three were those seized by HMRC and three were found in the community and subsequently identified by a firearms expert as being the same as those found previously.

We also had photographs which were found on Ricardo Aitchesons mobile phone picturing him with guns. There were also links to websites which were advertising the weapons.

In the home of the defendants over four thousand pounds was found which we say is the proceeds of their illicit business.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Jerome Aitcheson pleaded not guilty to all the offences on 20 October 2008 at Inner London Crown Court. Ricardo Aitcheson admitted two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon on 20 October 2008 but denied all the other offences.
  2. The trial began at Inner London Crown Court on 10 July 2009. Verdicts for Jerome Aitcheson were delivered on 22 July 2009. Verdicts for Ricardo Aitcheson were delivered on 23 July 2009.
  3. Media enquiries to CPS London Press Officer, Vicky O'Leary 020 7796 8041 or email vicky.o'leary@cps.gsi.gov.uk
  4. CPS London website can be found at www.cps.gov.uk/london
  5. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decisions is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  6. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Service. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 85.1% in 2007-2008. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk
  7. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.  This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.  The Protocol is published on our website at: http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/agencies/mediaprotocol.html