Man Jailed For Ten Years After Police Scotland Operation
3rd November 2016
Andrew Steven (aged 53) of Ayr, appeared at the High Court in Glasgow today (Thursday 3rd November) , where he was sentenced to ten years in prison, after pleading guilty to a number of offences relating to firearms and serious and organised crime.
He appeared alongside Michael Stuart (35) and Dean Kimmins (33) who had previously been found guilty of being involved in serious and organised crime and were sentenced today to seven and eight years respectively.
Kenneth McMullan (27) was also jailed for six years following his convictions for firearms and serious and organised crime offences.
In January 2015, Police Scotland launched Operation Santis to monitor the activities of Andrew Steven and gather evidence of his role in the purchase and re-activation of firearms which he then sold on to the criminal community. This investigation involved a team of detectives and assistance from specialist units to keep him under surveillance.
As a result of the policing operation, evidence was obtained of Steven (pictured) purchasing more than 100 de-activated weapons, a substantial proportion of which have been recovered in a re-activated state.
These included revolvers, pistols, carbines and automatic weapons. Evidence was also obtained of Steven's ability to manufacture significant quantities of ammunition which could be used in conjunction with those weapons.
Stuart, Kimmins and McMullan were also identified as part of the operation and subsequently arrested.
Detective Inspector Graeme Lindsay, the Senior Investigating Officer for Op Santis, said, "This investigation saw Andrew Steven and his accomplices charged with a significant number of offences and demonstrates the massive scale of his criminal activities.
"Our officers worked tirelessly to monitor Steven's movements and gather extensive evidence to ensure he was held accountable for his actions.
"Every single firearm and bullet Steven sold, posed a deadly risk to our communities and he clearly thought nothing of endangering others and making money from this illegal business.
"I hope that today's outcome sends a clear message that Police Scotland takes the threat from illegally held firearms extremely seriously and will take all necessary steps to disrupt this activity and reduce the threat in our communities."
Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry McLean, who leads Police Scotland's response to Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism, said, "Specialist officers, ballistics specialists and forensic experts combined to support this operation which is one of the most significant since the advent of Police Scotland. They have worked with local policing colleagues to halt Steven's activity in terms of his role as an armourer for organised criminals throughout the UK.
"The resolution of this case comes just days after the National Crime Agency and National Counter Terrorism Policing launched a campaign to highlight the work of law enforcement to keep firearms and ammunition out of the hands of criminals and terrorists.
"Our specialist officers work every day to identify and target individuals who are illegally in possession of firearms.
"But they cannot do it alone; it is also absolutely essential that we have support from members of the public.
"Firearms in the hands of criminals can end lives. If you have any information at all that could help remove weapons from circulation and prevent lives being lost, please contact us immediately."
Anyone with information can either contact their local police station or call CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111 where details can be provided in confidence.