A vehicle thief caught with six guns hidden at his home in Meopham has been jailed for 10 years and 10 months.
Phillip Bailey, 32, was arrested on Tuesday 7 April 2020 after a black Land Rover Defender stolen from an address in London the day before was located on the driveway of his property in Beechwood Gardens.
In addition to the illegally-held firearms, officers who searched the address also found drugs, cash and a number of expensive Rolex watches.
Bailey was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday 23 October 2020 following an investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate. He had previously pleaded guilty to six counts of possessing a prohibited firearm, three counts of possessing ammunition without a certificate, possessing criminal property and conspiring to steal motor vehicles.
Bailey’s offending came to light when it was established that the stolen Land Rover, which had been taken from an address in east London, had been fitted with a tracking device.
Kent Police officers were informed of the exact location of the vehicle and attended Bailey’s home in the early hours of Tuesday 7 April where they found it parked on the driveway bearing false number plates. It was also evident that the vehicle had been ‘hot-wired’.
A black Range Rover was also parked nearby, which upon closer inspection was also fitted with false plates having been stolen the previous December from an address in Greenhithe.
Officers carried out a search of Bailey’s address following his arrest, resulting in the discovery of a safe in the basement. Inside were four loaded handguns and five Rolex watches.
A further safe containing two more handguns was found in the spare bedroom, with three additional Rolexes discovered elsewhere in the house. Officers also found an extra 50 bullets in a bedroom cupboard and approximately £5,000 cash in the back garden.
Detective Constable Terry Hanlon of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘Phillip Bailey was caught red-handed with two stolen vehicles on his driveway and has since been linked to a wider conspiracy to steal a number of other vehicles from across the South East. It is also evident from this case that he had access to a number of very dangerous weapons capable of causing death or serious injury to others.
‘Law-abiding members of the public do not keep six handguns hidden inside their home, and those people who can afford to buy seven Rolex watches are usually able to explain where the money for them came from.
‘Kent Police is committed to tackling serious and organised crime, and ensuring illegally-held firearms are removed from the streets and destroyed so they cannot be used to commit other offences or cause fear of violence.
‘Philip Bailey will now be subject to a separate financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure he cannot continue to benefit from his criminal activities once he is eventually released from prison.’