Two men have both received five-year custodial sentences after they were found in possession of a sawn-off shotgun in Wellingborough.
Sam Cooksley, aged 22 and Daniel Stray, aged 18, were both arrested at a property in Brooke Green on Friday, October 2, after officers executed a search warrant.
Northampton Crown Court heard officers found the 18 inch sawn-off shotgun, which was loaded, as well as further ammunition in a ruck sack.
The arrest was part of Operation Worcester, a police drive to tackle drugs and firearms offences in Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire.
Maxine Krone, defending, said Cooksley, of Brooke green, Wellingborough and Stray, of Lovelle Court, Irthlingborough, had the gun as a form of self-protection as they had both been attacked in the past.
Judge Michael Fowler, sentencing, said he had to impose the mandatory minimum five-year sentence for possessing a gun.
He said: “It would be difficult to overestimate the potential serious consequences of an offences such as this.
“The only purpose of a weapon like this is to be carried and concealed and used against others.”
Stray will serve his sentence in a young offenders’ institution. Cooksley will be jailed. Both men are likely to serve two-and-a-half years before being released on licence.
Over the past two months, the Operation Worcester team, which includes 14 detectives, has made more than 20 arrests, seized three firearms and ammunition and recovered about £50,000 of controlled drugs as well as several thousands pounds in cash.”
Detective Chief Inspector Elliot Foskett, who is leading the operation, said: “We’re pleased this firearm has been taken off the streets and is out of the hands of criminals.
“We are committed to eradicating firearms offences and the supply of illegal drugs in Northamptonshire and my team has made significant in-roads into tackling this type of criminality.”
Detective Inspector lee McBride from the Operation Worcester team, welcomed the fact the guns had been taken off the streets.
He said: “The criminal use of firearms poses a high risk to the public and to those who carry them.
“We will bring to bear all resources at our disposal to protect the public from this type of offending.
“We are dedicated to reducing violence and I would urge anyone with information regarding firearms or drugs supply to contact Northamptonshire Police on 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”