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Gun-maker who used 3D printer and instructions from the internet to make deadly weapons is jailed

A gun-maker from Birmingham has been jailed after manufacturing deadly weapons with a 3D printer following instructions he downloaded off the internet.

Some of the guns Biddell-Portman manufactured.
Some of the guns Biddell-Portman manufactured.

David Biddell-Portman has been jailed for five years, following the first discovery of its kind in the region.

Biddell-Portman’s house was visited by police for a routine visit after he legally bought a blank-firing pistol and 50 rounds of 8mm ammunition in December of 2020.

They were let in by a relative, but 30-year-old Biddell-Portman wasn’t in. Officers searched his bedroom and found two assault rifles in a wardrobe.

David Biddell-Portman has been jailed for five years for using a 3D printer to manufacture weapons.

In an upstairs cupboard, they found a 3D printer used to produce the weapons and a cassette of plastic to print parts.

3D printers have legitimate uses to print out physical objects by laying down layers of plastic. They can be used for everything from toys to jewellery and furniture.

But an examination found that the assault rifles had been printed on the machine, with steel parts added to them for key components which could not be made with plastic.

Officers examined Biddell-Portman’s electronic devices and found that he had downloaded software and other files, including instructions from an anti-gun control organisation, allowing him to print out the weapons.

In a tool box in his shed, officers found bullets, metal gun parts and other 3D printed plastic parts for weapons.

The 3D printer Biddell-Portman used to make the guns.

Biddell-Portman, of Neachley Grove, Kitts Green, pleaded guilty to two charges of manufacturing a firearm and was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today.

Det Insp Lisa Jackson, of West Midlands Police's priorities team, said: “This is the first time we’ve recovered a 3D-printed firearm in the West Midlands, and so is a really significant find for us.

“We still don’t know what Biddell-Portman had intended to do with the weapons. He told us he had an interest in the mechanics of guns.

“But the reality is that these were deadly weapons which were tested and shown to be capable of firing live ammunition, which could have had deadly consequences.

“We fully appreciate that 3D printers are growing in popularity, and have lots of legitimate uses.

“But people considering using them to manufacture deadly weapons must be put on notice that we will treat them as seriously as any other traditional firearm and they can expect to be given lengthy prison sentences as a result.”

If you’ve got information on people involved in gun crime, get in touch with West Midlands Police or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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