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Arms dealer smuggled thousands of guns
A FORMER special constable has been found guilty of helping to ship tens of thousands of guns and millions of rounds of ammunition from China to Nigeria.
Gary Hyde, a 43-year-old who lives near York, was convicted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court today (FRIDAY) of breaching UK trade controls.
He moved the weapons without a licence and hid more than one million US dollars - £620,460 - in commission payments, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs said.
Southwark Crown Court heard the delivery from China to Nigeria in 2007 was made up of 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, 30,000 rifles and 10,000 9mm pistols, along with 32 million rounds of ammunition.
Hyde, of Mask Lane in Newton-on-Derwent. was convicted after a retrial of two counts of becoming knowingly concerned in the movement of controlled goods between March 2006 and December 2007.
He was also found guilty of one count of concealing criminal property between March 2006 and December 2008 after he was alleged to have hidden the profits in a bank in Liechtenstein.
HMRC spokesman Peter Millroy said: "Hyde was an experienced arms dealer who thought he could deliberately not comply with the law in order to make some extra money to hide offshore.
"He knew full well that his activity required a licence but he decided not to comply with the law, and we are delighted that after an extensive investigation he has been brought to justice."
Hyde, who served as a special constable for seven years, will be sentenced on November 23.
A former director of York Guns, his conviction was welcomed by peace campaigners Amnnesty International and their UK arms programme director Oliver Sprague.
Speaking from the UN building in New York, he described Hyde as a “notorious gunrunner” and said the guilty verdict proved that hard-fought for laws could bring arms dealers who try to evade controls to justice.
He added: “Less than a decade ago no laws were in place to control UK arms dealers like Gary Hyde, despite the fact that they were sending huge quantities of weapons to some of the world’s worst human rights crisis zones, weapons that facilitated widespread violence including unlawful killings, rape and torture and contributed to the most appalling human suffering."
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