A MAN who kept his father’s shotgun for sentimental reasons has been jailed for 12 months.
Ryan Firth, 28, was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court last week after police officers discovered the firearm along with ammunition at an address in Partridge Crescent, Thornhill, on August 10.
They found the unloaded .410 double-barrelled shotgun in a garage in a cardboard box which was not kept in a locked cupboard. Fifty cartridges were also found. Firth told the court that he had inherited the gun following the death of his father six years earlier. He had been refused a firearms licence on two separate occasions, most recently due to him suffering from depression.
Firth said that although he did go clay pigeon shooting and occasionally travelled to Scotland to stalk deer, he had never used that particular gun. He said he had air rifles in his back garden and that he thought that is possibly why the police were called.
Adam Birkby, representing Firth, said that he accepted the seriousness of the offence. “He accepts he was stupid to put sentimentality above the law and his need to get a licence,” said Mr Birkby. He urged the judge not to jail his client immediately, which would impact on his family.
Firth admitted possession of the firearm and ammunition without a licence.
Jailing him, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said that although he accepted the gun had not been used for criminal activity, he had to jail Firth to send a message.
“This was a real shotgun capable of being fired and although not loaded there was ammunition with it,” he said.
“The reason why courts regard offences so seriously is, what would happen if somebody broke into the garage and stole the shotgun and cartridges?
“It is highly likely it would have fallen into the hands of other criminals and is capable of causing death or serious injury.
“For those reasons, courts have to pass deterrent sentences.”