Career criminal had shotgun hidden in Leeds home

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A man has been jailed for five years after police found a gun hidden under his mattress.

Leeds Crown Court heard officers went to the address in Claremont Street, Wortley, Leeds in the early hours of November 21 on a different issue.

But when a search was carried out of the premises they discovered the .410 calibre single barrel folding shotgun which had been shortened, in a bag under the mattress in Mark Andrew Briggs’s bedroom.

Also recovered were nine .410 cartridges and some cannabis, said Robert Galley prosecuting.

Graham Parkin representing Briggs said he accepted he would receive the minimum five year custodial sentence but had only been looking after the weapon for someone else. Briggs, 30, admitted possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing ammunition and cannabis.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC told him: “You have a significant record of previous convictions, particularly for burglary.

You have been before the court for sentence on 29 occasions for 52 offences and have served a number of prison sentences.

There can be no other purpose for these weapons than that they are to be used in crime, that is why their possession is prohibited and it carries a minimum five years custody.”

He said it was an aggravating feature of the case that ammunition capable of being fired from the gun was also found “so it was effectively ready for use and could have caused serious injury and or death”.

“The particular role you had was as a custodian of it you say for a short period and I don’t know who you were looking after it for, but people do pass weapons to others, particularly if they think they are going to be visited by the police or at risk of having their premises searched.”