A judge has condemned the ‘scandal’ of a sub-machine smuggling operation being coordinated from Wandsworth Prison.
Judge David Farrell QC was jailing three people for a total of 30 years for firearms offences.
At least eight Skorpion sub-machine guns were brought into the country from Germany using Parcelforce deliveries.
Five of the deadly weapons are still at large.
One of the men sentenced, Alexander Mullings, orchestrated the trading from his Wandsworth Prison cell where he was an inmate serving time for robbery.
The judge has called for an inquiry into the lapse in security.
Using hidden smart phones, Mullings communicated by text and email to transport the guns, which were delivered by courier to London addresses.
They were then collected by the other defendants.
Officers from the Met Police Trident command, responsible for tackling gang violence, intercepted a weapon delivery and linked the packages to Mullings using phones records.
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves said:
These Skorpion sub-machine guns are some of the most dangerous weapons I have ever seen reach the hands of UK criminals. They are relatively small and easy to conceal, but they can fire semi-automatic rounds […] We have also recovered thousands of rounds of ammunition. I have no doubt this has prevented shootings from taking place.
Mullings, Ciantar and Inglis
Mullings was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life to serve a minimum of 10 years.
His girlfriend and fellow defendant Emily Ciantar was given a 12 and a half year sentence for the same offence.
Spencer Inglis received 7 and a half years for possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Sentencing the trio at Luton Crown Court on Thursday, Judge David Farrell QC criticised the security at Wandsworth Prison.
He said that an inquiry was needed to discover how Mullings had conducted his criminal operation from behind bars: ‘It beggars belief that someone so easily and quickly could obtain an illegal phone and conduct a criminal enterprise from prison.’
The judge added:
Wandsworth Prison on the face of the evidence have blatantly failed in their duty. This could only be the result of either inadequate security, incompetence or worse dishonest members of staff. I make no judgement on this.
Since April 2014, 146 firearms have been seized as a result of Trident investigations.
A firearms amnesty in November last year also resulted in the recovery of over 350 firearms and over 12,000 rounds of ammunition.