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TEENS CAUGHT WITH GUN GET FIVE YEARS.

TWO Coventry teenagers who were caught in a car late at night with a pistol and live bullets have been jailed for five years.

The 19-year-olds had been stopped at a petrol station in a routine police check.

Officers searched their black Peugeot and found the gun under the car seat.

Lee Walters, of Harefield Court, Stoke, pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without a certificate.

Although he had admitted possessing the ammunition, Scott Warner, aged 19, of Bell Green Road, Coventry, at first denied possessing the firearm - but changed his plea to guilty during his trial.

Prosecutor John Edwards said that shortly after midnight on January 18 police stopped a car at the Murco petrol station on Sewall Highway, Wyken.

Walters, who was the driver, got out and was asked to get into the police car to be spoken to about his driving documents, while Warner sat in the back of the Peugeot.

When the police then checked the car, under the seat where Warner was sitting they found a live .22 calibre pistol with a single spent cartridge in the breach, indicating it had been fired.

In a bag next to the Italian-made pistol were 15 live rounds of ammunition, and marks showed there had been abortive attempts to fire eight of them.

Warner had a spent cartridge in his pocket and another one at his home, while a third spent cartridge was found at an address where Walters had been staying, all of which tests showed had been fired from the pistol.

Walters told the police he had had the car for three weeks from an acquaintance he would not name, but would make no comment about the gun or the ammunition.

His barrister Mark Haywood said: "He accepts the circumstances in which he finds himself do not allow me to do so - but I do submit the minimum term would be sufficient."

Graeme Simpson, for Warner, said:''He never handled the gun, but he knew it was there. His possession began when he got into the car and sat in a seat knowing he had access to that gun."

But Judge Christopher Hodson rejected that, telling Warner: "I draw the inference that I am sure your possession of the firearm was for more than just the period when you were sitting in the car."

He added: "Firearms and live ammunition are a recipe for serious injury and death, and that is why those caught in possession of them receive long sentences."

The offence carries a minimum sentence of five years unless there are "exceptional circumstances".

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 21, 2010
Words:433
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