Copper who snared gun thug Mark Watts lands top new

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson

A TOP detective who helped to bring a St Helens gun supplier to justice has been appointed the new head of the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson headed up a crack team of Matrix team detectives who secured the 15-year conviction of Mark Watts back in March 2008.

Watts, of Haydock, stored an arsenal of lethal weapons in a house he rented out on Avery Square.

Among the stash of guns recovered during a police raid in September 2007 were seven 9mm semi-automatic pistols with silencers and three revolvers, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The raid, carried out by the specialist anti-gun Matrix team, followed a meticulous three-day surveillance operation.

Armed officers also recovered cannabis with a street value of £30,000 and £15,000 cash from the house.

Watts has since seen his jail term extended by six months after he failed to pay back thousands of pounds in dirty money.

Now, Det Chf Supt Richardson, 49, is set to take up the mantle as the head of the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit “Titan” unit from Det Chf Supt Simon Leach.

He said of the unit: “Our function is to identify and dismantle those organised crime groups causing the most threat and harm across the North West - and we will use every possible power to do that.

“The number of high sentences handed down to criminals since the unit’s inception sends a strong message to those prepared to engage in violent and organised crime that we will find you and we will put you behind bars.”