Three gangsters have been jailed for plotting to sell a gun to a terrorist planning an attack in central London’s Hyde Park.
Edward Little, 22, was travelling in a taxi from Brighton to the capital with £5,000 to buy the firearm and bullets when police swooped on September 23 last year.
His target was a Christian preacher at Speaker’s Corner and he had spoken of his desire to get a gun in encrypted chats on the Threema messaging platform, the Old Bailey was told.
At one point, he wrote: “I don’t think there has been an attack in the UK with guns so a semi-automatic rifle would send a (sic) even stronger message.”
In May, Little, of Pelham Street, Brighton, admitted preparing terrorist acts. He will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on December 15.
On Monday, three members of a crime gang were jailed at Inner London Crown Court for conspiring to provide him with a gun.
They plotted to sell Little the firearm and ammunition which had been adapted into a viable lethal weapon, Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) said.
After Little’s detention, police searched addresses controlled by the group, recovered the firearm and made multiple arrests.
Tyler King, 21, Caleb Wenyeve, 21, and Reis Forde, 27, admitted being party to the plot even though it was accepted they did not know the gun was for a terror attack, police said.
King, of Denmark Hill, Lewisham, was jailed for 10 years and nine months for conspiracy to transfer a prohibited firearm, possession of a prohibited firearm and three counts of possession of ammunition without lawful authority.
Wenyeve, of Blidworth Close, Strelley in Nottingham, was jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to transfer a prohibited firearm along with Forde, who was jailed for 13 years and six months.
After a trial, a jury cleared them of conspiring to supply a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, head of CTPSE, said: “King, Wenyeve and Forde were working together to supply a viable firearm along with ammunition.
“Although they didn’t know Edward Little’s plan to commit a terrorist attack with the firearm, they entered into an agreement with Little to sell him a fully functioning gun and live ammunition.
“They went a step further by sending a video of the working mechanisms of the weapon as proof to the buyer that it was a viable firearm.
“This organised crime group was unravelled quickly. The case is a prime example of the skill of our teams in counter-terrorism Policing and our determination to disrupt and bring to justice criminals whose activity could facilitate terrorism or harm our national security.
“All cases linked to terrorism will be vigorously pursued and brought before the courts.”