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Gun dealer found with armoury of weapons had ‘wanted to join police’

Investigators say man who bought firearms online had been a ‘significant importer and supplier’

11 March, 2021 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Darren Dixon

A MAN caught with an “armoury” of lethal weapons in his house –  including 26 guns, explosives and fake police ID cards – has been jailed.

Darren Dixon, 32, was described as dangerous arms dealer by prosecutors, but defence lawyers argued an obsession with the police had fuelled his collection.

The father-of-two became the focus of a joint National Crime Agency (NCA) and Met Police operation after investigators came across him buying and selling firearms online.

Officers raided his home in Kentish Town in October 2019 and found a hoard of arms stored throughout the property, including his bedroom where his three-year-old child was asleep at the time.

The illegal arsenal included five loaded handguns, a sawn-off shotgun, a pump action shotgun, 102 rounds of live ammunition, gunpowder, homemade explosives, zombie knives, grenades and garrotes.

Sawn-off shot gun found in Dixon’s house

Mr Dixon also had tools used to reactivate decommissioned weapons.

In total, over 240 items were seized from the house, among them were counterfeit Met Police ID cards, and Interpol IDs most of which used Mr Dixon’s image with fake names.

The documents were described by police experts as “high quality” and “sophisticated” forgeries which included a hologram very similar to the one displayed on authentic Met ID cards.

NCA investigators first identified Mr Dixon as a suspect while working with the Spanish police.

He had bought six guns from a website based in Spain and another three from a Slovenian website in the month before his arrest.

Loaded handgun with mag 5

The guns were all shipped to his home address, of which six were then sold onto buyers elsewhere in the UK including East London, Scotland, Wolverhampton and Sheffield.

While officers searched his home, a court was told, Mr Dixon admitted: “It has become a bit of an addiction with these guns.”

He said his collection was nothing to do with his partner who he said believed all the guns were blank firing pistols.

A fake police search warrant for an address in Cumberland Market was also found.

According to police, men posing as Met Police officers gained entry to the address in 2016 and removed a suitcase supposedly containing cash.

Other types of weapons found included a Taser, knives and garrotes

Mr Dixon denies involvement in this alleged crime and has not been charged in relation to it.

In March 2020, Mr Dixon pleaded guilty to all 15 charges against him.

John Clifford, prosecuting, argued on Thursday that Mr Dixon should be seen as a “dangerous” international arms dealer, and given the maximum penalty for his offences, some of which carried tariffs of between 10 years to life imprisonment.

Mr Clifford said: “It’s been asserted by the defence that Mr Dixon was a fantasist but this isn’t a case of ‘taking his hobby too far’.

“He was in possession of lethal weapons that he’d bought or converted and that he intended to sell commercially. He was in the business of buying and selling firearms.”

Matthew Perfect, the NCA firearms threat lead, has also called Mr Dixon “a significant importer and supplier of weapons”.

Weapons case

Mr Dixon is believed to have made £2,000 in profit through selling on guns.

His defence team, led by Mr Jeremy Dein QC, however, claimed the Crown Prosecution Service was “way off the mark”.

At the hearing in Southwark Crown Court last week, Mr Dein pointed to his client’s multiple failed attempts to join the Met Police as part of the reason for his growing obsession with law enforcement-related items including ID cards and police body armour.

Mr Dixon had also in the past applied to work for Interpol, MI5 and had almost been successfully recruited as a soldier into the British Army’s parachute regiment.

“His ambition in life was to serve the public,” Mr Dein said. “He wanted to be a police officer and it is both ironic and tragic that he now finds himself in Wandsworth prison facing a significant sentence.”

Much emphasis was put on his spotless work record as an engineer, his lack of previous convictions and the number of character references submitted on his behalf.

Double-barrel shot gun

Unusually, a number of prison guards and the prison chaplain wrote letters to the court describing Mr Dixon as “helpful” and “kind”.

Mr Dein said: “Mr Dixon has expressed remorse, regret and shame, and has reflected on how deluded he was and how he failed to see the consequences of his actions. He’s woken up to how these firearms could’ve ended up in the wrong hands.

“He is considered a brilliant father and partner and all who know him have expressed incredulity at how he’s ended up in this position.”

His Honour Judge Tomlinson said at sentencing: “Uppermost in my mind is the potential for weapons such as these to get into the hands of criminal gangs. Also that you had these items in the bedroom where your child slept.

“But I believe it would be wrong to find you pose significant risk of causing serious harm to the public given everything I have read about you.”

He passed a sentence of eight years in prison.

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