Man suspected of gun smuggling appeared on Manhunt

Date published: 30 May 2007

Greater Manchester Police's Armed Crime Unit has launched a fresh appeal to find a man suspected of funding one of the largest gun smuggling operations in the United Kingdom.

Michael Sammon appeared on the 'Manhunt' programme on Tuesday 29 May 2007.

As part of the appeal to trace Sammon, a handgun similar to those he allegedly imported was fired in the studio to show its full devastating impact. This was the first time ever that type of live weapon had been fired on television.

The programme, the first in a new series commissioned by ITV, featured Sammon amongst some of the most wanted criminals in Britain.

Sammon (born 13/03/60) was convicted of a serious fraud in 1997 amounting to more than £1 million. He was sentenced to four years in prison in his absence. He has not been traced since then.

Detectives also wish to speak to him in connection with a gun smuggling racket in which 274 weapons were imported into Britain from Europe. Many of them were converted into live-firing weapons and sold on to criminals across the country.

Five men are currently serving a combined total of more than forty years in prison for their involvement in the racket.

Seven different types of weapon were brought into Britain from Germany between April 2004 and September 2005. Originally, the weapons were brought on a ferry from Calais to Dover until one of the men was caught and sent to prison. The team then refined their methods and began sending them in the post.

The weapons were converted to be able to fire bullets at an engineering factory in Ancoats and went on to be used in a number of killings, assaults and armed robberies across the United Kingdom.

The programme illustrates several cases in which guns of this type have been used including:

· An armed robbery at a post office in Rochdale on Tuesday 25 October 2005.
· The murder of Thuy Van Le at a wine shop in Old Trafford on Thursday 15 December 2005.

Officers are hoping that the human cost of Sammon's actions will encourage people to come forward with information regarding his whereabouts.

Sammon is said to be a white man, around 5ft 11in tall, of heavy build with blue eyes and curly bushy hair. It is possible that he is using a different name.

Detective Inspector John Lyons from the Armed Crime Unit said: "Sammon has been missing for ten years now and we believe that he may be somewhere in this country, or at least regularly travels to and from it. I really need to speak to him about his suspected involvement in this gun-smuggling operation.

"All we need is someone to call up and tell us where he is. We don't need your name or your details. You won't need to give evidence in court or become involved in this case in any way. We simply need to know where he is living right now."

Detectives believe that Michael Sammon could be in the Blackpool, Manchester or London area and are appealing for anyone who has seen him to contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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