Man jailed for stashing huge weapons haul

Some of Holmes' weapons collection which police seized.
Some of Holmes' weapons collection which police seized.

A man has been jailed for 15 years for firearms offences after guns and ammunition were seized from a lock-up garage in Morecambe and a farm in Milnthorpe.

Paul Holmes, 50, of Station Road, Holme, was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court after pleading guilty to 14 firearms offences on Monday June 6.

Paul Holmes

Paul Holmes

He had previously pleaded guilty to two offences relating to the unlawful possession of handguns.

Police said it was the biggest firearms seizure in the North West since 2008.

In Morecambe, a large amount of shotgun and rifle ammunition was recovered, making a total of more than 2,400 rounds of ammunition seized in the raids.

Residents of Devonshire Road expressed their disbelief that Holmes, who owned a garage in the street, had used it to store thousands of rounds of ammunition in a garage there.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “I didn’t know anything about it. It’s worrying because its so near schools and young 
families. I didn’t even know there had been a raid.” Another resident said: “I didn’t even know there were lock-up garages on the street. There doesn’t seemto be a problem with gun crime.”

The prosecution follows a joint operation led by TITAN (the North West’s regional organised crime unit) assisted by Cumbria Police and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

TITAN detectives were joined in November of last year by search teams from Cumbria Police and officers from the NCA, to carry out raids at the defendant’s home address, a farm outbuilding in Milnthorpe and a garage in Devonshire Road, Morecambe (both also owned by Holmes).

During the search in Holme officers found a well-equipped workshop containing various machines and tools believed to be capable of use in manufacturing firearms. There was also equipment that was for use in reloading bullets and two handguns.

The haul of illegal firearms and ammunition seized in Milnthorpe included sawn-off shotguns, rifles, a handgun, disassembled shot guns together with bullets of varying calibres.