Two men were nailed by armed police officers with bullets and machetes in their car after they travelled around 150 miles to buy ammunition from an underworld gun dealer.

Bernard Stokes, of Billericay, and his cousin Tony Stokes, of no fixed address, were customers of gang leader Tony Graham and his younger brother Simon who supplied weapons and ammunition to criminals.

They travelled from Basildon to Rubery, in West Midlands, on June 14, 2021, to buy ammunition for an obsolete calibre weapon.  

Echo: The machetes found after the Stokes cousins were stopped by armed policeThe machetes found after the Stokes cousins were stopped by armed police (Image: West Midlands Police)

However, following a surveillance operation, later the same day they were stopped by police in Wembley, north-west London, at gunpoint.

In their car, police discovered two machetes, a knife and four bullets wrapped in clingfilm hidden in a pair of gloves. 

These arrests came after an investigation to catch a Birmingham gun-dealing gang was launched by the West Midlands Police force's regional organised crime unit.

The DNA of gang leader Tony Graham, 40, was found on one of the gloves in the Stokes cousins' car, while Simon Graham's was found on the bullets.

Police say Tony Graham arranged the sales and then ordered his brother Simon to act as a courier to deliver the firearms.

He bought obsolete calibre and antique guns legally and used his expertise to make them live firing. He also bought a kit from a foreign website which gave him the tools to make bullets.

Echo: The cousins were arrested my armed officersThe cousins were arrested my armed officers (Image: West Midlands Police)

Detectives say he made more than 100 enquiries with an online retailer and searches on his laptop revealed 1,800 images of firearms and obsolete cartridges.

The investigation also found that Simon Graham had supplied a gun which was seized from a gang of armed men in a BMW in Kings Norton on May 13, 2021, and on June 17 that year a curry sauce jar filled with bullets was found at his house on Holly Hill Road, Rubery. 

Bernard Stokes, 33, and Tony Stokes, 27, both admitted possession of ammunition and have now each been handed two-year prison sentences, suspended for 21 months.

Tony Graham, 40, admitted possession of a firearm and four charges of selling or transferring ammunition and was jailed for eight years and one month.

Simon Graham, 39, of Rubery, admitted four charges of selling ammunition and was jailed for five-and-a-half years.

Bailey McIlroy, 19, of Lysander Road, Rednal, was also found guilty of possession of a firearm and ammunition and was jailed for three years. This is after, on August 6 2021, police recovered a loaded handgun which had been converted from a blank firing pistol into a deadly weapon which was dumped by McIlroy when he and Tony Graham were spotted and chased by officers.