Dagenham teenager behind bars for shotgun offence

A 17-year-old schoolboy has been sentenced to five years behind bars after he was caught in possession of a loaded sawn-off shot gun.

The teenager, from Dagenham, was just 16 when he was stopped in possession of the lethal weapon by armed officers following an operation by the Met’s Central Task Force on December 10 last year.

He pleaded guilty to possession of a lethal firearm at Snaresbrook Crown Court on last Wednesday and was sentenced to five years imprisonment in a youth offenders’ institute.

The court heard how the defendant – who cannot be named for legal reasons - was seen leaving his home and meeting up with the occupants of a black Vauxhall Astra.

The four men were seen visiting various addresses before returning to the defendant’s home address. He got out of the car and went in to the house while his companions remained in the car.

A while later, he emerged from the property carrying a black holdall.

He then got back into the front passenger’s seat of the Astra. The car then drove off.

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A few minutes later, armed police stopped the car and all four passengers were forcibly removed from it.

In the front passenger footwell police found a black holdall identical to that removed from the defendant’s address. This bag was searched and inside police found a sawn-off shotgun along with one shotgun cartridge. All four occupants were arrested.

He was taken to Peckham police station where he was searched. In his jacket pocket police found two further shotgun cartridges.

A search of his bedroom at his home revealed six shotgun cartridges and one spent cartridge.

No further action was taken against his three companions.

Welcoming the sentence, DI Rob Murray of the central task force said: “This operation has successfully removed another illegally-held lethal-firing weapon and its owner from the streets of London.

“Possession of a gun carries a minimum term of five years. We take all intelligence concerning firearms extremely seriously and where appropriate will act on it to make sure that guns, and those responsible for storing, owning and distributing them, are taken off the streets.”