Boss of 'sinister' gun smugglers gets 30 years

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The Independent Online

The mastermind of a massive gun smuggling operation which led to at least two deaths has been jailed for 30 years.

Michael Sammon, 49, was the head of a gang who converted hundreds of blank-firing guns into deadly weapons at an engineering factory in Ancoats, Manchester, before they were sold on for a sizeable profit.

One of those firearms killed 12-year-old Gorton schoolgirl Kamilah Peniston who was accidentally shot by her teenage brother.

The alarm flare guns were bought cheaply on open sale in Germany and then brought to the UK where they were modified to fire live ammunition.

Sammon, who was convicted this week of various firearms offences by a jury, was the "ruthless" boss of the "sinister commercial operation", Manchester Crown Court heard.

More than 270 of the weapons were smuggled by ferry and then via post between April 2004 and September 2005.

About half of the firearms were recovered but around 100 remain untraced.

Sentencing Manchester-born Sammon, Judge Martin Steiger QC said: "Many have been used in shooting incidents and there have been at least two fatalities.

"One hundred of the guns are still in circulation, waiting to do their lethal work to innocent victims."