Dramatic moment a gang who hid bullets in Patak's curry jar are arrested by armed police
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This is the dramatic moment a Birmingham gun dealer - who hid bullets in a Patak's curry jar - is arrested by armed cops.
Gang leader Tony Graham, 40, supplied weapons and ammunition to criminals across Birmingham. He arranged the sales and then ordered his younger brother Simon to act as a courier to deliver the firearms.
He bought obsolete calibre and antique guns legally and used his expertise to make them live firing. He bought a kit from a foreign website which gave him the tools to make bullets.
West Midlands Police detectives say he made more than 100 enquiries with an online retailer. Searches on his laptop also revealed 1,800 images of firearms and obsolete cartridges.
Police discovered he tasked his younger brother to deliver the live bullets to other criminals who already had access to guns capable of firing them. An investigation to catch the gang was launched by the Regional Organised Crime Unit for the West Midlands (ROCUWM). The operation was part of Operation Target - a Midland-wide drive to bring down the most serious offenders.
Police bodycam footage shows the moment Graham was arrested by armed cops at his home in Birmingham. Cousins Bernard and Tony Stokes, who were customers of the Graham brothers, were also arrested.
The timeline leading up to the raids to arrest the Birmingham gun gang
They travelled from Basildon in Essex to Rubery, on June 14, 2021, to buy ammunition for an obsolete weapon. Later the same day they were stopped in Wembley, north-west London, at gunpoint.
Officers seized two machetes and a knife as well as four bullets wrapped in clingfilm hidden in a pair of gloves. Tony Graham’s DNA was found on one of the gloves, while his brother Simon’s was found on the bullets.
Police discovered Simon Graham had supplied a gun which was seized from a gang of armed men in a BMW in Kings Norton on May 13, 2021. On 17 June, 2021, an empty Patak's curry sauce jar was found filled with bullets at Simon Graham’s house on Holly Hill Road, Rubery.
On August 6 that year, police recovered a loaded handgun which had been converted from a blank firing pistol into a deadly weapon. It was found by a police dog trained to sniff out firearms after being dumped by Bailey McIlroy when he and Tony Graham were spotted and chased by officers.
How long have the gang been jailed for?
The gang have now been jailed for a total of more than 20 years at Birmingham Crown Court.
- Tony Graham, 40, admitted possession of a firearm and four charges of selling or transferring ammunition and was jailed for eight years and one month.
- Simon Graham, 39, of Rubery, admitted four charges of selling ammunition and was jailed for five-and-a-half years.
- Bernard Stokes, 33, of Billericay, Essex, and Tony Stokes, 27, of no fixed address, both admitted possession of ammunition and were each jailed for two years, suspended for 21 months.
- Bailey McIlroy, 19, of Rednal, was found guilty of possession of a firearm and ammunition and was jailed for three years.
'A major blow to serious and organised crime in the West Midlands'
Detective Inspector Amar Patel, from ROCUWM, said: “Tony Graham was a trusted supplier of ammunition, with people willing to travel across the country to buy from him.
“He had a real interest in firearms and a determination to profit from their sale within the criminal underworld. The extent of his operation and the number of weapons and bullets he was involved in selling is not clear, but what is clear is that the dismantling of his operation will have been a major blow to serious and organised crime in the West Midlands and beyond. We are relentless in our pursuit of organised criminals, who cause massive damage to communities.”