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A BUSINESSMAN who set up a gun factory at his garage has been jailed for four years.

Christopher Munro, 37, was part of a plot to re-activate blank and imitation guns to make them lethal weapons.

Munro, the owner of A&D Autos in William Moult Street, Everton, pleaded guilty at Liverpool crown court to conspiracy to convert the fake firearms.

Andrew Menary QC,prosecuting, told the court that Munro's legitimate business was a front for illegal dealings in handguns.

He said between August 22 and September 10 last year, Munro visited a military memorabilia shop in Blackburn and spent more than pounds 2,000 on de-activated,legal firearms.

.Among the guns bought by the father-of-four was an Italian police-issue gun with a blocked barrel.

Mr Menary said when police raided Munro's garage, they found that gun with its barrels awn off so it would be able to fire 8 mm real bullets.

Officers also found certificates for five pistols, tubing for gun barrels and a metalworking lathe and drill.

Police also arrested Munro's employee,Paul Pollock, 29, a paint-sprayer and panel beater, of Gateacre Park Drive,Gateacre.

Pollock had keys to a gun cabinet in the garage and pleaded guilty to possessing eight firearms found inside.

Mr Menary said: ``Pollock said he was not the gunsmith,but Munro was in the business of converting deactivated and imitation firearms into lethal weapons.''

The court heard that Munro has never been involved with serious crime and built up a successful business with 20 employees after leaving school aged 15.

Philip Hall,defending, said Pollock has suffered from anxiety after getting caught up in the case.

Judge Denis Clark sentenced Munro, of Yewtree Avenue, Allerton, to four years'imprisonment.

He said: ``You set yourself up as a gun smith and converter of a small arsenal.

``It defies belief that married men could have anything to do with this filth - weapons can only be used for serious crimes.''

Judge Clark sentenced Pollock to 220 hours community punishment and praised police.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2003
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