Crimewatch’s “Most Wanted” brothers are behind bars

TWO brothers who were featured on Crimewatch’s “Most Wanted” are behind bars today for storing a stash of guns.

Peter, 26, and Michael Moogan, 20, were featured on the BBC programme as police hunted for them in connection with a long-running inquiry into firearms.

The pair were eventually found in Spain last autumn, but Merseyside Police called extradition proceedings and they were hauled back to the UK to face a string of gun charges.

The brothers’ fingerprints were found on weapons recovered by police after they swooped on underworld armourer Mark Watts. When Watts was jailed for 15 years last March police heralded it as a massive victory in the war on guns.

Officers say the brothers, who lived at Watts’s Haydock property, acted as custodians of his “arsenal of weapons”, selling and loaning out the firearms to gangs.

Jailing both the brothers for eight years, Judge David Boulton said: “If police had not gone in when they did, there would be other dead youngsters.”

Police raided the rented property on Avery Square following three days of surveillance, after Watts was watched meeting five men inside.

They discovered 11 guns, eight silencers and about 500 rounds of ammunition hidden around the home and up to £15,000 in cash.

Weapons were even stored in Tupperware boxes and a bread bin in the kitchen.

Watt claims he had sub-let the rented property to two men, but refused to name them claiming he feared for his safety.

During a trial last March the married dad told jurors he had barely known the men and would never have allowed them to house firearms in his property, close to his nine-year-old daughter.

But Liverpool crown court jurors unanimously rejected his claims and found him guilty of 13 gun charges after a week-long trial.

Although he denied it throughout, police said Watts was selling kits – compromising a pistol, silencer and bullets – to the teenage gangs of north Liverpool.

The brothers’ DNA was also found on boxes and bags which housed the firearms.

Michael Moogan, of Roughwood Drive, Kirby, admitted seven firearms charges including selling and transferring prohibited weapons and Peter Moogan, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to possessing a gun and ammunition.

Neil Johnstone, of Bolton Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, was arrested with Watts on September 25, 2007. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to purchase, sell or transfer prohibited weapons, possessing a weapon and ammunition and was jailed for eight years.

Investigating officer, DC Mark Johnson said: “The judge’s sentence sends out a clear message in Merseyside Police’s battle against gun crime.”