A Thornton Heath man has been jailed for  14 years after police found two firearms and 34 rounds of ammunition in an outbuilding at his home.

Darren Lewis, 53, of Norbury Avenue, was sentenced alongside Alex Findlay, 28 and Umut Alpergin, 24 after specialist Met detectives seized firearms,

Darren Lewis

ammunition, Class A drugs and counterfeit cash as part of a proactive operation.

The investigation began on 26 January 2021 when officers from the Specialist Crime Command, with support from firearms officers, executed a search warrant at an address in Norbury Avenue, Thornton Heath.

During the search, two firearms and 34 rounds of ammunition were found in an outbuilding.

One of the occupants, Lewis, who had keys to the outbuilding, was arrested and charged.

Forensic evidence on the firearms and the newspaper wrappings inside the outbuilding identified the two further suspects. They too were arrested and charged.

This discovery led investigators to identify a Class A drugs conspiracy between Lewis and Findlay which dated back to between 2019 and 2021.

On Thursday, 9 February at Croydon Crown Court: Lewis,  was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, with an extended licence period of three years.

Alex Findlay

Findlay,  of Knights Hill, Croydon was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment, with an extended licence period of four years. Findlay will also be subject to a Serious Crime Prevention Order for five years after his release.

Alpergin,  of Flempton Road, Hackney was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

Unut Alpergin

Following a three week trial at the same court in May, all three were found guilty of possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and possession of ammunition.

At an earlier hearing, Lewis and Findlay had pleaded guilty to Class A drugs offences, with Findlay also pleading guilty to possession of £5,690 in counterfeit cash.

Detective Constable Alex White, the investigating officer, said: “This operation led to the removal of firearms and ammunition from Croydon’s streets and demonstrates the Met’s continued focus on violent crime across London.

“Each firearm seized had the capability of causing fatal injuries and causing devastation to families. Officers from the Specialist Crime Command working in partnership with officers from the local area enables us to identify and pursue those individuals who seek to harm the community.”