Two men from Southwark have been sent to jail for gun crime offences that police said could have ended in "serious harm, if not death".

Yesterday (Wednesday, September 30), Harvey Gillett, 23, and Dean Batchelor, 28, were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court.

Both men pleaded guilty previously in Kingston and will now serve jail time.

Batchelor, who pleaded guilty to the sale or transfer of a firearm to Gillett and the importation of two firearms and pepper gas ammunition, was sentenced to eight years and nine months’ imprisonment.

Gillett, who pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm when prohibited for five years and driving a motor vehicle taken without the owner’s consent, was sentenced to five years and 10 months’ imprisonment.

During an extensive investigation into the pair's activities, police found two forward venting imitation revolvers and 20 rounds of pepper gas ammunition, intercepted by Border Force officers destined for Batchelor’s home address in Southwark.

Batchelor later travelled to East Sussex where he was observed by officers to enter a replica weapons store.

He purchased two replica imitation colt firearms and a quantity of blank rounds of ammunition.

He was immediately detained and arrested when he left the store.

He made several significant comments during his arrest, including "how are they illegal ordered off the internet," showing he had knowledge of the items seized by Border Force.

"Detective Inspector Tom Williams, from Specialist Crime, said: “This investigation led to several lethal weapons and ammunition being taken off the streets of London. If they had not been seized, I have no doubt that they would have gone on to cause at the very least serious harm, if not death.

"These convictions are a result of extremely hard work by the team, who worked tirelessly to secure evidence against Gillett and Batchelor. In the end, the evidence was so strong against them that they had no choice but to plead guilty.

"Firearms have absolutely no place on our streets and every time one is removed by us, it makes London a safer place for all."