A MAJOR crime gang are behind bars after a large-scale police probe into violence, drugs, firearms and dirty money.

The nine-strong mob includes cocaine baron Mark Richardson and ex-army veteran turned gun-runner Martyn Fitzsimmons.

The clan had been due to stand trial in a case that had been expected to last around three months.

Prosecutors had listed a total of 28 charges which included the shooting of underworld figure Ross Monaghan outside a Glasgow primary school.

Evening Times:

Other claims were the attempted murder of gangland boss Robert Kelbie as well as allegations of £1.5m of hidden “criminal” cash.

But, following a series of pre-trial hearings – amid heightened security at the High Court in Glasgow – the gang pled guilty to reduced charges.

The charges for the nine span between 2013 and 2017.

Judge Lord Beckett remanded them all in custody and adjourned the case until later this month.

Prosecutors have also made applications for the mob to be hit with Serious Crime Prevention Orders.

The move – believed to be a first for a Scottish high court – is designed to tackle the country's organised criminal gangs.

Other accusations included the January 2017 shooting of Ross Monaghan – previously cleared of the murder of gangster Kevin “Gerbil' Carroll.

But, prosecutors accepted not guilty pleas from Richardson and Fitzsimmons – the only two charged with taking part.

It was further claimed Richardson, Docherty and McArdle had tried to kill Robert Kelbie in Newbridge, Edinburgh in September 2016.

However, Docherty instead pled guilty to an amended charge of discharging a firearm at a property to the danger of others.

Prosecutors did not give further facts of the crimes the gang pled guilty to.

More information is expected to be heard when the group next return to the dock.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry McLean, head of Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism, said: “The nine men who pled guilty 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.

“Serious Organised Crime has no place in society and I want to reassure people in all our communities that Police Scotland will continue to disrupt anyone involved in this type of activity on a daily basis, shutting down their illegal businesses and locking up those responsible.

“Welcoming the guilty pleas today I also want to pay tribute to the team of dedicated police officers whose professionalism and tireless efforts helped bring these nine dangerous men to justice."