A MAN who said he found a sawn-off shotgun and took it home for safekeeping, intending to hand it to police later, has been jailed for five years for possessing a firearm.
Lemuel Laws, aged 30, was repairing fencing in his brother’s garden before a children’s party was due to take place when he said he found the gun and six rounds of ammunition wrapped in a black plastic bin bag.
He decided to take it home rather than leave it where it would pose a risk to the children attending the party.
He had hidden it under a mattress, intending to take it to the police station at a later date.
William Falshaw, prosecuting at Northampton Crown Court, said the gun and ammunition had been discovered around a month later when police officers searched Laws’s home after arresting him of suspicion of aggravated burglary.
He said the gun, a 520mm Browning shotgun with two 13-inch barrels that were sawn off close to the wooden grip, appeared rusty and badly-maintained. He said it had initially been thought it was incapable of being fired but further tests had since revealed that it was in working order.
Last month, Laws, of Woodside Way, Kings Heath, Northampton, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and live ammunition.
Matthew Kirk, mitigating, said Laws’s partner had been unwell.
The couple had been looking after a baby who was just a few weeks old and Laws he had been suffering from swine flu so it had “slipped his mind to deal with the matter as promptly as he otherwise would have done”.
Judge Richard Bray sentenced Laws to five years in prison for possessing the gun and two years for possessing the ammunition, both sentences to run concurrently, and ordered that the gun be destro-yed.
He said: “I bear in mind you found the gun and were going to hand it in to police but on your own account you had a month to do that and did not.”