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Jail for minder guarding deadly arsenal; Police find guns and ammunition hidden in city centre house.

Byline: GARY STEWART ECHO Reporter gary.stewart@trinitymirror.com @livechocourt @

A GUN minder who was put in charge of a deadly arsenal of illegal firearms was jailed.

Police raided the house of Stuart Gillies, 63, on Alsop Court, Brownlow Hill, in the city centre, on May 18 this year in relation to cannabis being grown there.

Although they found seven cannabis plants in the house, a further search uncovered an arsenal of illegal weapons under the stairs and in a bedroom. Derek Jones, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that two rifles were recovered including a .22 semi automatic Schmeisser.

In another room was a 9mm Smith and Wessen handgun.

Alongside the guns were six 9mm Luger bullets and 16 rounds of .22 expanding ammunition which is particularly deadly and designed to cause horrific wounds.

Gillies, of Moss Side, Huyton, who has a previous conviction for possessing CS gas, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of prohibited weapons, possession of a firearm without a certificate, two counts of possessing ammunition and possessing a small amount of amphetamine. The cannabis charges were not proceeded with.

Gillies pleaded on the basis that he was approached by a man he didn't know who intimidated him into looking after a guitar bag and its contents. He said he suspected the items were illegal and when he looked inside found it was a bag of guns. He said he hid them in an Ottoman in his house and they did not leave it until police arrived and found them.

But Judge Norman Wright observed that someone would have to be well trusted to be asked to mind a bag containing such lethal and illegal weaponry by criminals.

He jailed Stuart Gillies for 71/2 years.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson said: "The sentencing today of Stuart Gillies demonstrates just how seriously the courts take the possession of firearms and ammunition.

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"Merseyside Police is absolutely committed to tackling gun crime in all its forms and will continue to take positive action to take as many firearms off the streets as possible.

"We recognise the threat that the criminal use of firearms poses to the wider community and taking these weapons off criminals is one of our Matrix Serious Organised Crime unit's top priorities. We will simply not tolerate guns being stored or used to cause fear in our communities and anyone committing this type of offence can expect to be tracked down and brought to justice. I would encourage the public to call us with any information about gun crime. You can be entirely confident that any information provided will be thoroughly examined by officers and this could really help our enquiries. Any information, no matter how small, could lead to our officers recovering a gun and maybe even saving someone's life.

MOBILE FREE "We are relentless in our pursuit of those involved in gun crime and anyone with any information is asked to contact the Matrix Serious Organised Crime team on 0800 230 0600 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."

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The Illegal weapons found by police in a raid on the city centre house

Stuart Gillies was locked up for over 7 years

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2014
Words:537
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