Posts Tagged ‘HM Revenue and Customs’

Although each investigation will vary in method, resource requirement and management, Operation Addington conducted by Cumbria Constabulary took over 3 years to complete and finally saw six men convicted of conspiracy to import 105kg of high-purity cocaine with a street value of £15 million.

Cumbria Constabulary - Safer Stronger Cumbria

The men conspired to transport drugs from Germany to the UK using legitimate transport companies by secreting cocaine in furniture and packing boxes belonging to fictitious military personnel.

Twelve officers spent almost three years dedicated exclusively to “Operation Addington”, and at its height about 100 others from the force were involved along with colleagues from other forces and HM Revenue and Customs.  Once the offenders were convicted, specialist financial investigators then began seizing assets (belonging to the convicted men) paid for by the proceeds of crime.  The operation saw 2,331 statements taken, 4,363 exhibits seized and 35 disclosure phases to defence lawyers.

This was believed to be one of the largest seizures on the UK mainland.

The gang’s method was to use their detailed knowledge of the removal of soldiers’ belongings from Germany back to the UK.

Members went to great lengths to avoid detection, using multiple mobile phones and phone numbers, convoluted travel routes to get to and from the continent and even ran small businesses as a front for the drug trafficking.

The conspiracy comprised three trips to the continent. During the first, no drugs were brought back.  The second run was more successful and an undisclosed amount of drugs were distributed.  However, unknown to the gang, they were being covertly filmed by officers from the Cumbria force on the third run.  A van was recorded being loaded with furniture at a unit at an industrial estate in Preston, Lancashire.  When it arrived in Germany, the furniture was packed with cocaine and brought back to the UK in the guise of the belongings of a fictitious soldier.

A legitimate haulage company, which was unaware of its illegal cargo, made the return journey.

This is typical of many other similar investigations.

Does your cop solve their drugs job on their own, in an instant?  You may want to think again.

Criminals are increasingly choosing illegally-acquired stun guns as their weapon of choice, a Sky News investigation has revealed.

The devices are sold openly on market stalls in the Far East – and some appear to be smuggled into the UK.

Assistant Chief Constable Sue Fish, of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said there was anecdotal evidence that some criminals may be turning to stun guns in the belief they might escape a jail term if caught.

She said: “I think our concern is that we could see an increase around the use of stun guns, because there does seem to be a misguided perception that they are seen as less serious than conventional firearms, when in fact the law views them exactly the same as an illegal gun.”

Stun Guns: Criminals' New Weapon Of Choice

ACPO is to embark on a detailed study of stun gun use by criminals, but at present there are no national statistics on the numbers of such weapons seized by the authorities.

England’s four biggest police forces, who do record stun gun seizures, have recovered around 900 of them since 2008.

Last year, the number of crimes which involved the use of a stun gun in England and Wales stood at 128, an increase of 33% but still only a tiny proportion of overall firearms offences.

However, many crimes involving stun guns may go unreported. There is evidence drug dealers are using the weapons as an enforcement tool and many of their victims – habitual drug users – are reluctant to report their attackers.

Although touted as a weapon of self defence, they are terrifying and potentially deadly in the hands of criminals.

Staff at the West Midlands Air Ambulance charity near Birmingham have faced that horror.

They were recently robbed by masked men carrying stun guns who broke into their head office. They were tied up, held hostage and threatened for almost an hour before the raiders escaped with £12,000.

One of the charity’s managers Jason Levy said: “There were around five or 10 people that were here for a meeting that day and they rounded a number of people up and we were pretty much held hostage here.

“We were put to the floor and at that point we realised there was a Taser gun. We were all pretty calm but pretty concerned about what was happening and what would happen next.”

No-one has yet been arrested in connection with that robbery.

The vast majority of illegally-held stun guns in the UK have been bought overseas.

Asst Ch Con Fish said: “The main source for stun guns is from websites and illegally importing them into this country is a significant criminal offence for the importation as well as the subsequent possession.

“There are two clear criminal offences there. The other way that we are also seeing some weapons being brought in is by people literally bringing them in when they’ve travelled abroad and purchased them and then, either coming in by air, or by vehicle across our borders.”

On a market stall in central Bangkok, they were only too happy to demonstrate for Sky News an array of dangerous weapons, including numerous stun guns.

We were able to buy one for around £15. It was disguised to look like a mobile phone, but the ring tone on this phone came with a 50,000 volt electric shock.

The weapon was disposed of a short time later. However, many are being smuggled into the UK, it seems.

The most recent figures from HM Revenue and Customs estimated around 1,000 such weapons a year are recovered at UK ports and airports.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “One of the things we’ve got now is a border police force and therefore it is vital that there is proper monitoring and surveillance of what comes into the country.

“When it concerns a weapon of this kind, that has the potential to kill as well as to stun, it is important that we find out exactly how it’s getting in… who’s able to order this over the internet… and how we can stop it happening.”

Devon and Cornwall police seized 60 mobile phone-type stun guns in two separate operations recently. Detectives believe the weapons originated in the Far East.

They were the exact same type as those we were able to buy legally in Thailand. – Thu, 13 October 2011Courtesy of: ANANOVA

Do you have a criminal that thinks it’s O.K to carry a stun gun as opposed to a firearm?  Do you know which police officers do or can carry and use Tasers?  Could your antagonist use a stun gun to intimidate his victims and enemies?  Let me help you with your dilemmas – drop me a line.