A 27-YEAR-old man who hid a loaded pistol in the garden of an empty house on the outskirts of the Dispatch district has been jailed for five years.
Kieran Staff, of Basford, stashed the weapon at the property on Pavior Road, Bestwood Estate.
The Tanfoglio self-loading .22 calibre gun was discovered with nine rounds of live ammunition.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that Staff already had a previous conviction for possessing a loaded firearm and ammunition.
Staff’s arrest was made as the culmination of a two-month investigation by detectives after the pistol was found.
The discovery was made in January as the garden was being cleared by a lettings agency preparing to rent the house out.
Forensic testing allowed officers from Operation Vanguard, which investigates organised crime in Nottingham, to link it to Staff.
The 27-year-old was arrested in Bestwood in March by detectives supported by armed officers. He was charged with possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition and for having them while prohibited for life after a previous conviction in 2004.
He pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing in August and at the sentencing he was given five years for possession of the gun and concurrent sentences of two years for each of the other charges.
Det Con James McDonagh, who led the investigation, said: “It is a measure of how entrenched in crime Staff was that he was prepared to risk a significant prison sentence by obtaining this pistol and ammunition.
“The fact that he had already been convicted of the same offence and banned from possessing firearms meant he would inevitably be charged and sentenced for flouting the ban in addition to whatever other charges were laid against him.
“Staff clearly thought he had a foolproof plan to conceal the weapon, but hadn’t reckoned on the fact that this empty house would be visited before he had chance to recover the pistol.”