FVS Helps Solve Birmingham Riot Gun Crime

Vital evidence provided by forensic imagery and analysis experts, FVS, has helped to secure lengthy jail sentences for a gang of rioters who committed violent gun crime during the Birmingham riots of 2011.

Weapon Comparison GunBill Platts, Director of FVS, said: “The Birmingham case was known as Operation Barton, and centred around the riots as they approached a Public House known as the Barton Arms.

 “A number of rioters had firearms in their possession and were intent on ambushing the Police after first luring them down the street towards a dead end. One of the rioters had an ancient handgun known as a St Etienne. This was a large-calibre handgun which took hand-made ammunition.”

 Members of the gang of rioters discharged at least 12 shots at officers, and CCTV footage shows others taking aim and firing a gun at the force helicopter on two occasions, which posed a significant threat to the crew.

 “Through in-depth comparison and analysis, FVS can determine whether weapons captured on video or CCTV footage at a crime scene are the same as suspected or recovered items,” added Bill Platts. “Where possible we perform reconstructions to view CCTV footage under similar lighting conditions and on the same camera, enabling us to make like-for-like comparisons.

 “In this particular case, FVS undertook a reconstruction using weapons similar to those used by the offenders — these were supplied by the West Midlands armoury. After the exercise, the reconstruction guns were compared to those used by the rioters, and we found a close match.

 “This gave strong support to the Crown’s contention that they were one and the same. We were also able to provide accurate height measurements and descriptions of each offender.

 “We presented our findings to a Crown Court hearing, and those in the dock were found guilty and given lengthy sentences. Among them were two men who organised the rioters — they are now serving 64 years in total.”

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