A MAN who had a loaded handgun, ready to fire, at the home in Bulwell he shared with his mother, has been jailed for seven years.
Police were searching the property on Merchant Street where Vandell Wright lived when they came across the weapon.
Also discovered at the house was up to £4,000 worth of crack cocaine, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
A judge told Wright (24) that because there was a bullet in the breach of the firearm, the offence was more serious than one that carried the automatic five-year sentence for illegally having a gun.
“Guns and drugs, when found together, underline the seriousness of the offence,” said Judge Michael Stokes, the Recorder of Nottingham.
Officers found the weapon on Wednesday December 14 by chance during a search being made for another reason, the court was told.
The 8mm Kimar semi-automatic pistol and ammunition were in a bag in a wardrobe on top of women’s clothes.
Jeremy Janes (prosecuting), said: “There was a live bullet in the breach. The safety catch was off and it was cocked.”
There were two more bullets in the magazine.
The gun, made in Italy, was designed to be used as a blank-firing pistol but had been adapted.
Wright had no previous convictions but had received a caution and reprimand in the past, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty to possession of the firearm, of the ammunition and of the class A drug with intent to supply.
The prosecution did not accept his explanation that he was just a custodian of the gun and the drugs and was going to pass them on to someone else.
A cutting agent had been found, said Mr Janes, which was consistent with Wright being involved in supplying the drug and not just ‘warehousing’ it.
Wright’s barrister, Adrian Reynolds, said: “He was a user of crack cocaine and got himself in a position where people asked him to store these things.”
It was said that Wright had been led to believe the bag contained a gun but he was not aware there was any ammunition.
After the sentencing, Det Insp Keith Priest, said:
“The fact that both Wright and a potentially lethal firearm are now off the streets of Nottingham is excellent news for the people of Nottingham.
“This sentence sends out a clear message that people who own guns illegally, or even act as custodians of firearms for other people, will receive serious sentences from the courts.
“I’d like to reassure the public that these offences are still in the minority and that working together with our partners, we will seek to disrupt offenders and bring them to justice on every occasion.
“The assistance from our local communities is vital, so I would urge anyone who knows of or suspects that individuals are engaged in criminal activity to contact the police or Crimestoppers immediately.”
You can call the police on 101. Alternatively, ring the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.