A plumber who converted blank firing guns into lethal weapons has been jailed for seven years and two months. 

Evan Girdlestone, 48, from Colliers Wood, used an industrial unit in Wimbledon as a production line to convert the weapons. 

He became the subject of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation last April and the following month he was arrested in a car park in Croydon. 

Underneath the passenger seat of his car was was a converted gun with two magazines of ammunition. 

NCA officers then performed a search of his industrial unit and found three more converted guns and four unconverted blank firers. 

They also found 174 rounds of live ammunition, a quantity of spent ammunition and multiple tools used to convert blank firers. 

Your Local Guardian: Ammunition belonging to Evan GirdlestoneAmmunition belonging to Evan Girdlestone (Image: NCA)

Girdlestone had tested his converted weapons at the unit, shooting through phonebooks attached to the wall. 

On one occasion he messages an associate to tell them he had been injured by a ricochet. 

Girdlestone admitted four counts of possessing firearms, three counts of possessing ammunition and three counts of converting blank firearms. 

On Friday (April 12) he was jailed for seven years and two months. 

Your Local Guardian: Evan GirdlestoneEvan Girdlestone (Image: NCA)

Debbie Palmer-Lawrence, head of the NCA’s Armed Operations Unit, said: “As an armourer, Girdlestone was reckless and a real danger to the public. 

“He is now in the right place after excellent work by a variety of NCA teams to build the rock solid case against him. He had no choice but to plead guilty. 

“Tackling the criminal use of firearms is a key priority for the NCA and we work with partners at home and abroad to do everything in our power to protect the public.”