Cramlington arms trafficker handed prison sentence after being linked to Skorpion machine guns

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A Northumberland arms trafficker has been handed a seven year prison sentence by a judge in Greater Manchester.

47-year-old Michael Feeley, of The Deodar, Cramlington, was jailed on Tuesday, December 5 after previously pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm.

Feeley had been linked to two Skorpion machine guns and was part of an organised crime group involved in trafficking firearms.

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Police in West Yorkshire had found one of the weapons and some ammunition hidden under a pillow at an address in Leeds.

47-year-old Michael Feeley was jailed on two counts of possession of a firearm. (Photo by Greater Manchester Police)47-year-old Michael Feeley was jailed on two counts of possession of a firearm. (Photo by Greater Manchester Police)
47-year-old Michael Feeley was jailed on two counts of possession of a firearm. (Photo by Greater Manchester Police)

A man living at that address was later jailed for owning the weapon, which was sent off for forensic examination.

DNA on the weapon matched Feeley to the extent that, according to the forensic scientist, it was one billion times more likely that it was Feeley’s DNA than an unknown person’s.

Messages later uncovered on EncroChat, an encrypted platform used by criminals on modified devices, showed Feeley was involved in a weapons trafficking ring under police investigation. They also showed the firearm found in Leeds had been sold by that network.

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Greater Manchester Police later found another Skorpion machine gun at an address in Stockport. Other weapons recovered during the investigation include two black self-loading pistols, two Skorpion sub-machine guns, a taser, and 1,013 rounds of ammunition.

Michael Feeley’s DNA was also recovered from a number of these items.

Feeley was stopped by police in Northumberland while driving on January 12, 2021 and their checks showed he was wanted in Manchester.

A search of his Cramlington home found a mobile phone handset similar to those used to access EncroChat.

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He initially claimed he was not involved in arms trafficking and had only touched the guns when his friends showed them to him, but later pleaded guilty.

Detective Constable Jon Shaw from Greater Manchester Police’s serious organised crime group said: “Our investigation has already taken six deadly, military grade weapons and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition out of the hands of this group, but we have several investigations ongoing into other organised crime groups linked to these weapons.

“We are actively working with colleagues from forces across the UK, and national and international law enforcement agencies, to trace these guns whilst locking up a string of dangerous criminals as we go, and Feeley is our latest.”