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26 February 2015, 18:11 | Updated: 26 February 2015, 18:43
A quick response by officers – which saw armed criminals arrested within minutes and a loaded gun taken off Birmingham’s streets – has resulted in three men being jailed for a total of 43 years.
Jamie Webster, Arron Burris-Hale and Sarbjit Bhamra were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today after being found guilty of plotting to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
Webster and Bhamra were caught by armed officers on 30 June 2014 after police were called to Guild Close in Ladywood at around 6.50pm, following reports two men with handguns had been seen chasing a black car up the road.
Officers arrived within four minutes and saw the car – a Mercedes – at the top of the road. Due to the information received, the officers got out of their police vehicle with their own weapons drawn.
Webster, who was in the front passenger seat, and the driver Bhamra were then arrested, with a loaded revolver being found on Bhamra’s seat.
An investigation was then launched into what happened that night and what was behind the altercation in Guild Close.
Detectives discovered Jamie Webster, aged 24 and of Clark Street, Ladywood, had been involved in a dispute earlier that evening with a group of men at Ladywood Community Centre.
Webster was so concerned about the dispute, he decided to arm himself. CCTV and telephone records revealed Webster then went to Arron Burris-Hale’s flat on Bristol Road, Edgbaston, for a gun.
Burris-Hale, aged 39, called his friend Bhamra and arranged for the 38-year-old to drive Webster to Guild Close so he could reap his revenge on the group who had angered him earlier.
Burris-Hale was later arrested and he – like Webster and Bhamra – was charged with two offences: conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life.
All three denied the offences, but were convicted last week following a two-week trial.
Today, Webster and Bhamra were handed a 15-year sentence for each offence – to run concurrently – while Burris-Hale was handed 13 years for each crime, also to run concurrently.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis said: “Thankfully, no weapon was discharged and the prompt response of our highly trained officers prevented Webster from carrying out his attack, which was potentially a murder in the making.
“Webster’s response to the dispute – with the help of Bhamra and Burris-Hale - of fetching a loaded gun, was ludicrously disproportionate.
“We are satisfied with the lengthy sentences handed to them, which reflect the devastating consequences their actions could have had.
“Not only have these individuals been taken off our streets for some considerable time, but we have also recovered a gun, stopping it from falling into the hands of other criminals.
“We are working hard to reduce gun crime and we have invested significant resources in targeting those involved in the supply of illegal weapons.
“Levels of recorded gun crime now stand at around half of what they were seven years ago but we are not complacent, and we will continue to do all we can to eliminate guns, gangs and organised crime groups from our communities.”