A NINE-STRONG gang who brought 'fear and misery' to Scots communities have admitted charges of extreme violence, drug dealing, firearms offences, hiding 'dirty money' and abduction and torture.

Cocaine and heroin baron Mark Richardson - who was jailed for 10 years in 2010 over a £2 million drugs seizure - and ex-army veteran turned gun-runner Martyn Fitzsimmons were among those in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow.

The gang had been due to stand trial for the next three months amid tight security, which included armed police patrols and airport-style security checks on those entering the courtroom. A police helicopter circled over the prison van that brought the men to court for hearings.

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Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry McLean, head of Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism, said they "were involved in the most serious criminal activity, including firearms, drug dealing and extreme violence."

“They were responsible for bringing fear and misery to communities across Scotland and we welcome the fact that they have been brought to justice and admitted their involvement in the face of a wealth of evidence."

Richardson and Fitzsimmons faced charges including the shooting of underworld figure Ross Monaghan outside a primary school in Penilee, Glasgow, in January this year.

HeraldScotland:

Other allegations they faced included the attempted murder of gangland boss Robert Kelbie and allegations of £1.5m of hidden “criminal” cash.

Richardson, 30, who had been accused to trying to kill Monaghan and Kelbie, admitted having a Glock handgun.

Fitzsimmons, 37, also allegedly involved in the Monaghan attack, pled guilty to also having the gun and ammunition and hiding £36,000 of dirty money.

David Sell, 50, admitted to being involved in the abduction and torture of Robert Allan, who was trussed up at a house in South Yorkshire then bundled into a car and driven 200 miles to West Lothian.

Once there, he was attacked before being driven to East Kilbride, shot in the legs in East Kilbride and dumped by a road in March 2015.

Anthony Woods, 44, Francis Mulligan, 41, and Michael Bowman, 30, each accepted roles in the crime gang. Gerard Docherty, 42, pled guilty to recklessly discharging a firearm at a house.

Steven McArdle, 33, admitted he also had a Glock. Barry O’Neill, 37, admitted he had dealt in cocaine.

The gang could now be hit with Serious Crime Prevention Orders, thought to be a first for a high court in Scotland, in a bid to root out organised crime gangs.

The original indictment said the nine had agreed to “commit and organise the commission of serious offences.”

Other accusations included the Monaghan shooting outside St George’s Primary School in Penilee, who had been cleared of the murder of gangster Kevin “Gerbil’ Carroll in January 2010. Not guilty pleas from Richardson and Fitzsimmons were accepted.

HeraldScotland:

It was claimed Richardson, Docherty and McArdle had tried to kill Robert Kelbie in Newbridge, in September 2016. Docherty pled guilty to firing a gun.

HeraldScotland:

Judge Lord Beckett remanded them in custody, with sentencing due to take place later this month.

The hearing was adjourned.