Two men jailed after weapons cache found in Gorton

Eric Mayes (left) and Mark Heaton
Image caption Both men admitted the charges

Two men have been jailed after police investigating a murder in Manchester uncovered a cache of guns while searching for a suspect.

Detectives found three loaded handguns hidden around the Gorton home of Eric Mayes, including one in a kitchen drawer, during a raid in July 2010.

He admitted five counts of possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition and was jailed for eight years.

Accomplice Mark Heaton was jailed for six years at Manchester Crown Court.

Officers had entered the house on Sandringham Street as part of the investigation into the murder of Martin Gallagher, who was fatally stabbed on the same road.

During the search they uncovered:

  • A black handgun, along with a magazine and live rounds, under a cushion in the living room
  • A black pistol and silencer, with a magazine and live rounds, under a dresser in a bedroom
  • A black Tokarev pistol, a magazine and live rounds, a key fob gun and a CS gas canister in kitchen drawers

Officers also found a number of replica and imitation firearms as part of what Greater Manchester Police described as an "arsenal" of weapons.

Image caption Police said they found an "arsenal" of weapons

Det Sgt Gill Jackson said Mayes was storing the weapons for Heaton but detectives were "unclear" about their intentions.

"We have all seen and read about the tragic consequences of guns getting into the wrong hands, and that is why Greater Manchester Police treats every illegal possession of a gun so seriously," she said.

"These lethal weapons have no place on the streets of Greater Manchester and we will continue to make sure anyone who thinks they are above the law by keeping guns and ammunition is brought to justice."

Mayes, 58, pleaded guilty to five counts of possessing a prohibited firearm and five counts of possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate.

Heaton, 52, also of Sandringham Street, Gorton, pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited firearm and two counts of ammunition.

Heaton's brother Anthony was convicted of the murder of Martin Gallagher in February.

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