Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 12:03 UK

'Success' attracting crime gangs

Model posing as a gunman. Pic: Greater Manchester Police
Northern is dealing with crimes, including those involving fake guns

The economic success of the Highlands is drawing organised criminal gangs to the area, a senior police officer said.

Supt John Darcy commented following the sentencing of a 30-year-old man from Liverpool caught trying to sell two stolen shotguns in Inverness.

The Northern Constabulary officer said the region was being targeted by criminals from other parts of the UK.

This week has also seen the force launch a team to help tackle the cultivation of cannabis.

Previously, Northern Constabulary reported its officers were regularly dealing with incidents involving imitation firearms.

In May, it said drugs worth almost 1m were seized in the Highlands and Islands over the last year.

Operations included one that ran for 18 months and led to the arrests of eight people.

Thankfully firearms being stolen is a rare occurrence
Det Insp Gus MacPherson
Northern Constabulary

Supt Darcy was responding to the jailing of Joseph Carragher for four years and nine months at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Carragher was staying in Inverness when he was offered the guns, which had been stolen during a break-in by a stranger.

He pleaded guilty to resetting two shotguns and failing to have a firearms certificate.

Supt Darcy said: "This was a very difficult enquiry resolved by a dedicated team.

"As I have stated on other occasions, the economic success of the area does bring with it the challenges of organised crime teams in the central belt and further south targeting this area."

'Significant amount'

He said the Carragher case showed the force's resolve and ability to deal with organised crime.

The shotguns had been stolen from a house in the North Kessock area near Inverness during a break-in in January 2006.

Det Insp Gus MacPherson said: "The recovery of the guns was extremely important, following the break-in we dedicated a significant amount of resources to this enquiry, and it is always a concern when firearms are stolen as it is likely that they will end up in the hands of criminals.

"Thankfully firearms being stolen is a rare occurrence."

Force step up cannabis farm fight
15 Oct 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Man who tried to sell guns jailed
15 Oct 08 |  Highlands and Islands
'Regular' reports of gun offences
01 Oct 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Guns man 'no hardened gangster'
17 Sep 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Almost 1m worth of drugs seized
06 May 08 |  Highlands and Islands

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