Three men who were jailed for their part in a gun plot have had their sentences increased.

Jacob Smith, 22, Craig Walker, 40, and Ian Wharmby, 20, were all sent to prison last March for their part in an attempt to buy a gun hidden at a house in Radcliffe as part of a dispute with other criminals.

But now they have been hit with still harsher penalties after the Court of Appeal intervened.

Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC MP said: “It is a serious crime to purchase a firearm and thankfully no-one was hurt before it could be used.

“The courts have rightfully recognised the severity of Smith, Walker and Wharmby’s actions, and this should serve as a strong warning that firearm offences will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The Bolton News: The gun was hidden in a house in RadcliffeThe gun was hidden in a house in Radcliffe (Image: GMP)

The gun had been found wrapped in a sock and hidden by police during a raid on a house in Radcliffe in April 2020.

The officers also found mobile devices that linked the gun to Smith, Walker and Wharmby which also included messages from Walker where he arranged to obtain a gun for Smith.

To do so, they used a special system to send each other encrypted messages.

Wharmby was tasked with dropping the gun off and transported it using his work van in an attempt to seem less suspicious.

The Bolton News: Ian Wharmby helped to move the gun aroundIan Wharmby helped to move the gun around (Image: GMP)

The same gun had previously been used in a shooting incident in the Whitefield area.

Following their arrest and trial, all three were convicted at Manchester Crown Court earlier this year and jailed.

Smith, of no fixed abode, was at first sentenced to six and a half years for conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.

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Walker, of Wigan, was sentenced to six years for the same offences, while Wharmby, of no fixed abode in Radcliffe, was jailed for three years.

Two other men, Dominic Hughes, 40, of Glover Court, Leigh, and Aaron Gray, 26, of no fixed abode, Radcliffe, were also jailed for 18 years and 14 years respectively.

But as of this week, the first three men’s penalties have been overturned by the Court of Appeal after being reviewed under the Unduly Lenient Sentencing scheme.

Smith will now have to serve eight years and six months, Walker eight years and Wharmby five years and four months.