Wokingham gun factory gang jailed for almost 100 years

At Reading Crown Court, Judge Kirsty Real jailed the gang for a combined total of almost 100 years.

This marked the culmination of an explosive case, involving a large-scale conspiracy to reactivate handguns and sell them to criminals across southern England.

Five of the defendants appeared in person and via video link at court, while Kenneth Britton – described by Judge Real as a “leading” figure in the enterprise – was unable to attend.

The members of the gang were:

  • Kenneth Britton, 34, of Spencer Road, Bracknell
  • Benjamin Phillips, 43, of London Road, Wokingham
  • Mark Dyson, 43, of Llangar Grove, Crowthorne
  • Jacob Peters, 37, of Brunswick Hill, Reading
  • Danny Walker, 34, of Simmonds Close, Bracknell
  • Katie Lee, 31, of Humber Way, Sandhurst

All were jailed for conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons and conspiracy to sell or transfer ammunition, in addition to a string of individual offences.

Sentencing the group, Judge Real provided an overview of the case.

The court heard how on October 31, 2022, police raided Phillips’ home in Wokingham. Officers uncovered and seized 13 working handguns, alongside ammunition and numerous gun parts.

The judge estimated that, in all, 41 converted or potentially convertible firearms were recovered at the scene.

In addition, a gun ‘workstation’ was found in the kitchen of the property.

Judge Real said this was being used by Phillips – the gang’s “armourer” – to convert deactivated firearms, which lay “strewn” around the house’s ground floor.

Britton, Phillips, and Lee were arrested at the scene, and the other defendants were linked to the investigation at a later stage.

Members of the gang had different roles and degrees of involvement, with the judge singling out Britton and Phillips as the ringleaders.

They are believed to have had connections to criminals in Bracknell, London, and across south-west England.

While it is unclear how many sales were made out of Phillips’ home, the judge said it appeared to be a “sophisticated and lucrative” criminal operation.

Dyson, a delivery driver with HSS Hire, moonlighted as the gang’s courier, transporting weapons and ammunition around in his Volkswagen Touran.

At trial, he claimed this was part of a deal he made with Britton, after the latter gifted him the car.

Also involved in shipping and storing the guns was Peters – who, Judge Real said, joined in the scheme to repay a drug debt.

The pistols were sourced by Walker, who was also sentenced on January 26 for threatening an ex-girlfriend by texting her a photo of one of the guns.

Judge Real said that Lee, a former partner of Britton, played a much lesser role than the other defendants. She would ferry Britton around as he ran the operation.

The judge found that their relationship had “abusive” elements, but ruled that Lee was not directly coerced into the scheme.

Britton – who, Judge Real noted, had been a “talented” footballer as a child – was jailed for 18 years and nine months. Phillips received an identical sentence.

Walker was jailed for 12 years, Dyson for 10 years, and Peters for nine years.

In recognition of her more limited involvement, Lee was jailed a shorter term of three years and nine months.

Each defendant will serve at least half of their sentence before being released on licence.

Reading Chronicle | West Berkshire