Three men have been jailed for conspiring to commit over 30 burglaries which included guns being stolen and sold on to criminal gangs in Birmingham following a West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) investigation.
Kadim Shah, John Shorthouse and Roshan Singh repeatedly travelled to rural areas in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and South Birmingham, breaking into homes and stealing high value items such as cars, watches and - in some locations - legitimately owned shotguns.
A number of the shotguns were recovered in the West Midlands area and it is thought they were being supplied to organised crime groups across the region.
In December last year, Maher Ali of Vaughton Street, Birmingham, was jailed for two years and three months for possession of a firearm after being stopped in a Volkswagen Golf on 6 November in Birmingham in possession of a stolen Beretta shotgun.
The gun was later identified as being stolen in a burglary in Wilmcote, Warwickshire earlier that day; a burglary that the trio were responsible for. Ali was linked to 29-year-old Singh after he was seen getting out of Singh???s Vauxhall Astra just before being stopped with the stolen shotgun.
Only days after Ali???s arrest, during a different operation, a sawn-off shotgun and large quantities of class A drugs were recovered from the boot of a car in Stirchley, which was identified as being stolen in a burglary on 2 November in Warwickshire that the three were responsible for. Just last week (Monday 8 July) Shaun Barnhurst and Remi Carty were jailed for 15 years each for offences including possession of this gun.
On a separate occasion later that month, another VW Golf was found alongside a Ford Connect van in Yardley Wood, near to 23-year-old Shorthouse???s home. The car had been stolen a week earlier in Redditch and three shotguns which were seized from the car were also stolen during a different burglary earlier that day.
After recognising the surge in burglaries in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, where it is estimated over £700,000 worth of goods was taken, officers from ROCU worked with teams in Warwickshire and West Mercia and an investigation was launched. Three criminal associates were quickly identified - Shorthouse, Singh and Shah - all operating out of Birmingham and travelling to Warwickshire and Worcestershire to commit the offences.
On 12 December 2018, a ram raid at Co- op in Earlswood saw the group use a car to drag a cash machine from the premises, the ATM was later found in in Calthorpe Park, Balsall Heath smashed open with an estimated £40,000 cash taken. Police also recovered a stolen Land Rover and Mercedes van used in the Co- op raid.
In collaboration with regional forces, the trio were all arrested in December last year after intelligence-led warrants were executed at their home addresses.
A considerable amount of stolen property, balaclavas, tools and weapons were recovered from all three homes and around £4,000 worth of cocaine was also found in Shorthouse's family address.
Following their arrests, CCTV and clothing linked the three to further offences, and phone analysis between the group revealed a picture of their criminal enterprise. Property recovered was able to link them to a burglary back in March 2018 but evidence gathered showed the groups offending started to rapidly increase from August 2018.
In total police were able to link the trio to 30 separate burglaries and two robberies as well as the ram-raid at the Co- op .
All three men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle, two counts of robbery and possession of firearms. Shorthouse also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine and both him and Shah pleaded guilty to driving whilst disqualified. They have today (23 July) been sentenced to a total of 47 years and 10 months in prison.
Their sentences are:
Roshan Singh of South Acre Avenue, Birmingham has been jailed for 16 years
John Shorthouse of Greenford Road, Yardley, has been jailed for 16 years 8 months
Kadim Shah, age 21 of Lewis Road, Stirchley, has been jailed for 15 years 2 months
Chief Inspector Ronan Tyrer, from the Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: "We have successfully put three very dangerous men behind bars and in doing so, we are helping to reduce the supply of weapons being transported from other areas of the country into Birmingham.
"We want to reassure the public we are doing all we can to tackle this kind of crime. The offences were unsophisticated and frightening, where these men turned up wearing balaclavas and smashed their way into properties in broad daylight. We are currently in the process of reuniting recovered items with their owners.
"Our work on this case was intelligence-led, and we would like to thank members of the public for their continued support and for the information they provided, which assisted us with these convictions."
As part of West Midlands Police's determination to tackle violent crime, the force is taking part in a national two week firearms surrender led by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). The surrender started on Saturday (20 July) and will run until Saturday 4 August, encouraging members of the public to hand in any firearms, including guns, ammunition, stun guns and pepper spray to local police stations.