Illegal firearms buyer is jailed

29 Apr 2024 11:59 AM

Illegal and potentially lethal firearms have been taken out of circulation and their owner jailed, following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

Dennis Early (48) recently (26 April 2024) began a prison sentence for possession of guns and bullets which he purchased from a seller in Spain.

Officers from the NCA’s Armed Operations Unit, acting on intelligence, carried out a pre-dawn strike at Early’s home in Westfield, East Sussex, in February 2022.

Dennis Early custody image

Officers recovered a converted pistol, seven blank-firing firearms and six unfired bullets from Early’s hallway, living room and a workshop in his back garden.

The blank-firing guns were of a kind deemed ‘readily-convertible’ – meaning they are more easily altered to fire live bullets than other types.

Such firearms are often sought by criminals, as guns originally manufactured for lethal fire are considerably more difficult to acquire. Blank-firers are nevertheless illegal to own without the appropriate authority.

The NCA’s investigation identified that Early – who did not have authority to own such a firearm – had purchased the guns online through a Spanish website, and received them in the post.

Dennis Early firearm

Early was arrested by officers and taken into custody, before later being charged with firearms offences.

He pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year.

A judge recently sentenced Early to two years and 10 months in prison, reduced from three years and four months in light of his early plea.

Senior Investigating Officer Tracey Lake recently said:

“These firearms were all potentially lethal, and could have ruined many lives if used on UK streets.

“Gun crime is relatively low in the UK, and the NCA is working tirelessly with partners in the UK and abroad to help ensure this remains the case, and the public is protected."