Harrogate and Ripon crime gang jailed after police uncovered robbery and firearms plot
Last updated Apr 8, 2024
Left to right: Philip Dean Wilson, William Henley Davy, William Fuller McMillan and Rivers Lee Willson

A group of Harrogate and Ripon men linked to serious and organised crime have been jailed today (Monday, April 8) for a collective 25 years and 11 months.

The court heard how the following gang members were linked to an organised crime group who’d been involved in a dispute with a rival group.

  • Rivers Lee Wilson, 23, of St Johns Walk, Bridlington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon. He has been jailed for 10 years and two months.
  • William Fuller McMillan, 24, of HMP Hull, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a prohibited weapon. He has been jailed for 10 years and eight months.
  • William Henley Davy, 20, of HMP Hull, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. He has been jailed for three years and six months.
  • Philip Dean Wilson, 45, of Nora Avenue, Knaresborough, pleaded guilty to assisting an offender. He has been jailed for 19 months.

Between Friday 6 and Monday January 9 2023,  North Yorkshire Police organised crime unit carried out an investigation into a suspected organised crime group that was active in the Harrogate district.

Image from footage captured during the arrest

According to a North Yorkshire Police media release today, police gathered intelligence suggesting a man had been kidnapped and held against his will.

It was established Rivers Wilson and Fuller McMillan were preparing to kidnap the victim and extort him for money, believing that he had a large amount of cash stashed in two addresses in Harrogate.

Information was obtained that Rivers Wilson and Fuller McMillan were planning to use force against the victim. At the time Rivers Wilson, Fuller McMillan, Philip Wilson and two other gang members had located and taken the victim using force. William Davy visited the two addresses and recovered cash from where the victim had it stored.

Philip Wilson allowed his vehicle to be used to kidnap the victim and commit the offence.  Following the kidnap Philip Wilson arranged for the disposal of his vehicle to destroy any forensic evidence.

After recovering the cash, William Davy communicated the news with Rivers Wilson and Fuller McMillan and the victim was then released. Intelligence indicated that the amount of cash stolen from the victim was approximately £70,000.

The investigation found evidence to show that Rivers Wilson and Fuller McMillan subsequently and unknowingly at the time had robbed a rival organised crime group from West Yorkshire.

Further intelligence led officers to believe that Rivers Wilson, Fuller McMillan and another gang member were arranging to source a sawn-off shotgun and live ammunition. They then jointly sourced the firearm and ammunition in order to cause fear to those who sought retribution having had their cash stolen by the gang.

The shotgun found by North Yorkshire Police

A police helicopter was deployed and used to track the gang as they were travelling with the firearm and live ammunition and believed they were getting their ‘crew’ together in readiness to confront the rival gang.

At this point, armed response officers actioned a hard stop of one of the vehicles and detained three members of the gang which included Rivers Wilson and Fuller McMillan and recovered both their vehicles.

Rivers Wilson, Fuller McMillan and another gang member were ordered to get out the vehicle at gun point and were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to kidnap.

Both Rivers Wilson and Fuller McMillan’s vehicles were forensically examined, and a long package was recovered in the back seat of Fuller McMillan’s vehicle. Examination of this package showed that it contained a sawn-off shotgun, with four live shotgun cartridges.

The shotgun was heavily wrapped in a bin bag and paper. In a further search, seven more shotgun cartridges were found wrapped in a balaclava within a boxing glove in the vehicle.

NPAS police helicopter footage

Detective constable Helen Quaife, of North Yorkshire Police’s serious and organised crime unit, said:

“We have seen nationally how the use of weapons used by feuding gang members can devastate families and communities. This type of crime will not be tolerated in North Yorkshire.

“The sawn-off shotgun was viable and along with its ammunition was intended to be used.

“This investigation was conducted meticulously with a large number of enquiries conducted dealing with witnesses, forensics, CCTV and specialist expert evidence. The sentences imposed on these gang members illustrates just how serious these offences are taken. I hope this will be a warning to others who think the use of weapons will be tolerated within our communities.  We will intervene, and people will be punished, to keep our communities safe.”

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