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‘Dr. Evil’ was caught after a package intended for his mother-in-law turned up at a British air force base.
John Yelland, 28, ran an online store named Dr Evil’s UK Self Defence Shop, which he used to list 25 submachine guns for sale, as well as a collection of tasers, batons and pepper sprays. Yelland pled guilty to a series of firearm offences, including two counts of attempting to sell prohibited weapons, possession of a prohibited weapon, and attempting to possess a prohibited weapon.
Yelland admitted to downloading manuals from the Internet that taught him how to create and assemble guns. He then went on to purchase the parts on eBay, before assembling the weapons in his home.
‘Dr. Evil’ was caught when a parcel containing a self-loading pistol, addressed to his mother-in-law, was instead returned to Yelland at his place of work: RAF Marham, a Royal Air Force base where Yelland worked as a driver.
During the court case, it emerged that Yelland had become paranoid after witnessing a series of traumatic experiences, including seeing a man killed in a rocket attack in Afghanistan. Working as an ambulance driver in the dangerous Helmand province, Yelland reportedly became worried about his mental state after being bullied because of his stutter.
Yelland was sentenced to six years in jail, banned from using encrypted communication devices, and will be allowed only restricted access to the Internet. His estranged wife, Maimie Yelland, was jailed for six months for transferring criminal property, after she called her mother in relation to the mailed gun part.
James Cook was the Daily Dot's morning editor. He went on to serve as Technology Editor at Business Insider before joining the Telegraph as a special correspondent covering technology.