North West Regional Organised Crime Unit
 

Operation Avant

An operation that recovered a number of firearms

Three men have been sentenced to 38 years in prison for storing an arsenal of weapons and ammunition in Stockport.

They were sentenced on Friday 20 February 2015 at Manchester Crown Court Crown Square.

Darren Alcock (born 21/02/1969) of Aigburth, Liverpool was found guilty at an earlier hearing of conspiracy to supply firearms and ammunition.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison with a further four years on license.

Paul Estridge (born 26/09/1968) of Sandon Street, Liverpool was found guilty at an earlier hearing of conspiracy to supply firearms and ammunition.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Stuart Manners (born 11/01/1969) of Bronington Close, Sharston, Wythenshawe pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing of conspiracy to supply firearms and ammunition.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

At 8.40pm on 3 August 2012, Alcock and Estridge were travelling along Windermere Road in a hire car which Alcock had hired.

As the car reached the junction with Nangreave Road it was stopped by a marked police car because Alcock was seen driving whilst using a mobile phone. A short time later Alcock and Estridge were allowed to leave the area by officers.

At around the same time children who were playing on Windermere Road found a firearm and ammunition which had been discarded in a plastic bag at the foot of some bushes. The bag contained a Taurus Millennium self-loading pistol with a 9mm round loaded at the time of recovery and twenty one rounds of ammunition.

The firearm and ammunition were recovered and an investigation was launched.

Officers from Titan, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit carried out telephone billing enquires which linked both Alcock and Estridge to Manners at the time shortly before and immediately after the firearms and ammunition were found on Windermere Road.
The firearm and ammunition which had been recovered from the bushes was forensically tested and Manner’s DNA was found on the firearm.

On Wednesday 4 September 2013, officers from Titan arrested Alcock, Estridge and Manners.

A number of searches were also carried out, one at Bronington Close, Sharston which was the home of Manners, during that search a Taurus Millennium self-loading Pistol containing one 9mm round was found along with a mini torch which was converted into a firearm, one round of ammunition, a number of shooting targets, 79 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a mobile phone 'stun gun', knuckle duster, carbon knives and two empty firearm magazines.

When Manners' car was searched a second torch which had been converted into a firearm was also recovered.

A second search was carried out at a storage unit which had been hired by Manners in Stockport, several hundred rounds of both small and large calibre bullets were found, a gun cleaning kit and a large hunting knife.

Detective Sergeant Mike Cain from Titan, North West Regional Crime unit, said: “Today's result sends out a strong message to anyone who gets involved with guns, that they can expect to face a lengthy prison sentence.

"The firearms and the ammunition were clearly intended for use in organised crime, and would no doubt have led to serious injury or death.

“We are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who use, store or supply guns for criminal purpose. By removing these weapons and ammunition we have without doubt prevented further crimes from happening."

Convicted

Darren Alcock

Darren Alcock

14 years

Paul Estridge

Paul Estridge

12 years

Stuart Manners

Stuart Manners

12 years