VIDEO: Rotherham trio jailed over gun offences

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Three men have been jailed over the discovery of an arsenal of weapons and ammunition in South Yorkshire.

Robert Webb, aged 32 and his brother David Webb, 30, both of South Crescent, East Dene, Rotherham, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court with Natale Lala, 31, of Moorgate Road, Rotherham, over a string of firearms offences.

Robert Webb

Robert Webb

Robert Webb pleaded guilty to possession of a handgun, a Carbine assault rifle, a stun gun and ammunition.

He also admitted converting a firearm and pleaded guilty to offences under the Explosives Act, including possession of nitro-glycerine and three counts of possessing articles to make explosives.

He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years behind bars.

David Webb and Lala pleaded guilty to possession of a handgun and were each jailed for five years.

Natale Lala

Natale Lala

They were arrested as part of joint operation carried out by South Yorkshire Police and the National Crime Agency, aimed at identifying members of a ‘sophisticated firearms ring,’ which police said included the three defendants.

David Webb was arrested last July after officers spotted him entering Lala’s home with a package.

A search led to the recovery of a Glock handgun and ammunition.

When officers raided the home David and Robert shared on South Crescent, East Dene, Rotherham, officers uncovered an arsenal of weapons including an automatic machine gun, a crossbow, a stun gun, and ammunition.

David Webb

David Webb

At Robert Webb’s business premises officers found chemicals and compounds which could be used to make explosives. They also found nitro-glycerine in a locker, which is often used in the manufacture of explosives.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Mick Hakin said: “The court hearing today marks the culmination of months of hard work from Rotherham officers and a concerted effort to remove significant numbers of firearms from the streets.

“I think it is fair to say that nothing could have prepared us for what we found at South Crescent in July – the sheer number of bullets and array of guns was staggering.

“This group were sophisticated and highly organised but their actions, particularly Robert Webb’s possession of nitro-glycerine, put the lives of Rotherham’s communities at risk and were incredibly foolish.

“We will not tolerate this kind of criminality in Rotherham and while today marks a conclusion of sorts, we will continue our work to identify, apprehend and bring to justice those who choose to commit gun crime.”

Superintendent Paul McCurry said: “This is a great result for Rotherham and indeed, the whole of South Yorkshire.

“Three men who have admitted to possessing dangerous weapons are now behind bars and subsequently, our streets are a little safer.

“I must thank our colleagues at the National Crime Agency, who have been a fantastic asset and support throughout our investigation.”

Rob Lewin, head of the National Crime Agency’s Specialist Operations Unit, said: “By targeting suppliers like the Webb brothers we have stopped their arsenal of weapons and explosives ending up in the hands of other criminals. I have no doubt they would have been used to commit further crimes, putting lives at risk.

“During a surveillance operation our armed officers watched David Webb deliver a Glock handgun, converted by his brother, to Natale Lala. This triggered a series of events which led to the arrest of all three men, the recovery of firearms, and dangerous chemicals, including nitro-glycerine, which are used to make explosives.

“Today’s sentences are a direct result of our joint working with South Yorkshire Police. Taking firearms off our streets remains a top priority for the NCA and its partners.”