Somerset firearms and drugs gang jailed

Eleven men have been jailed for their roles in a conspiracy to supply cocaine and firearms from a bunker hidden under garden decking in a Somerset village.

When police raided the bunker in Kilmersdon near Radstock they discovered a cannabis factory and a cocaine processing plant.

The gang was also later discovered to be involved in supplying firearms.

Five firearms were recovered along with live ammunition and bullet-making equipment, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Detectives discovered the bunker in January 2011 when they followed Mike Gorham to the house he was renting in Kilmersdon and he disappeared out of sight.

They found him hiding in the bunker with Steve Tamblyn, who was discovered to be the ringleader.

Smith & Wesson revolver

But the drugs were only part of the gang's activities.

The arrest of taxi driver Geoff Goold, who was found with a Walther PPK handgun and 50 rounds of ammunition on the passenger seat of his cab, led officers to Philip Freeman - the gang's armourer.

Image caption Gorham rented the house in Kilmersdon

When police raided Freeman's workplace, they seized a Smith & Wesson revolver and a kit for making bullets.

At his home in Frome, they found a Colt handgun, a boxed Walther air rifle and a deactivated MAB handgun.

Det Insp Tina Robinson, from Avon & Somerset Police, said they would never know what the firearms were intended for.

But she said: "From my point of view, anybody who seeks to get a handgun [and] live ammunition, can only have one intention and that's to cause someone some serious harm."

She added it would also never be known how many other firearms they had supplied to organised crime groups.

'All too prevalent'

Steven Tamblyn, Warren Gosz, Ian Comins, Phillip Freeman and Benjamin Taylor were all found guilty of conspiracy to supply firearms with intent to endanger life at a trial.

Geoff Goold pleaded guilty to the charge.

Image caption The purpose-made bunker was found below decking in the garden

Tamblyn and Taylor, together with Mike Gorham, Lucas Taylor, Ross Rawlins and Scott Heal, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. Alan Pinner was found guilty of the charge at trial.

Tamblyn, 29, of Midsomer Norton, was jailed for a total of 15 years and Freeman, 39, of Frome, for a total of 14 years.

Benjamin Taylor, 28, was jailed for 11 years, Gosz, 40, of Peasedown St John, for a total of eight years, and Comins, 42, of Radstock, for seven years.

Goold, 54, of Weston, in Bath, and Pinner, 40, of Radstock, were both jailed for three years.

Heal, 28, of Radstock, was jailed for two-and-a-half years, and Rawlins, 23, of Kingswood, Bristol, for two years and two months.

Lucas Taylor was jailed for six years, and Gorham, 55, of Kilmersdon, for four-and-a-half years, at a previous hearing.

Judge Julian Lambert, sentencing, said: "These are very serious offences. Gun crime remains all too prevalent in this country."

A financial investigation into the money the gang made from their crime will now follow.

  • An earlier version of this article included a photograph, which had been provided by Avon and Somerset police, of Mr Geoffrey Gould rather than Geoff Goold who was convicted of these offences. The BBC is happy to clarify that Mr Gould had no connection with the criminal proceedings and to apologise for the distress caused.

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