Leeds drug dealer with shark killing gun and bullets jailed for ten years
A drug dealer who had a gun used by divers to kill sharks along with more than 20 bullets has been jailed for ten years.
David Hammill had the 'bang stick' firearm in his BMW when he was stopped by police on Pepper Road in Hunslet on suspicion of having no insurance, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Police investigated and 22 bullets and drugs with a street value of around £10,000 were found in a number of cars parked near Hammill's home on Cambrian Terrace, Beeston.
Police didn't know what the 185mm long bang stick was and sent it to the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds for analysis.
Experts confirmed it was a working firearm, which is used at the end of a spear or pole by divers and is fired when in direct contact with the target.
Michael Morley, prosecuting, said when police stopped 43-year-old Hammill on April 8, he said he thought he had some proof he was insured on his mobile phone in his car.
An officer went to Hammill's BMW to get the phone and spotted an axe in the door pocket.
Hammill was arrested and police then saw the bang stick in the centre console of the BMW.
Police searched a Vauxhall Insignia parked near Hammill's home address and found 20 bullets in a box in the boot.
They also found a bag in the Insignia containing heroin with a street value of £5,350, cocaine worth around £585, crack cocaine worth around £1,830 and cannabis worth around £450.
Skunk cannabis worth around £1,800 was found in a Mercedes car along with a single bullet.
One bullet was found in an Audi.
Some of the bullets were .38 calibre and all were capable of being fired by the bang stick.
Mr Morley said: "While it (the bang stick) might normally be used for underwater predators, it could just as easily be used by holding it against the body of a human being to discharge the cartridge."
Hammill admitted possession of a prohibited weapon, two charges of possessing ammunition without a certificate, three charges of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and four charges of possessing class B drugs with intent to supply.
He has 11 previous convictions for 22 offences including assaulting a police constable, possessing cannabis with intent to supply, production of cannabis and criminal damage.
Mark Foley, mitigating, said Hammill has a hereditary heart condition and has suffered six heart attacks.
Mr Foley said Hammill was trading cars at the time of his arrest, adding: "His explanation has been that he had involvement with others who were engaged in supplying class A drugs and he allowed them to use his vehicles.
"He recognises he played a role. He was vaguely aware he had seen bullets and ammunition."
Mr Foley said Hammill had been asked to look after the bang stick and was not aware it was classed as a firearm.
Jailing Hammill for ten years, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told him: "I'm sure that this weapon was used by you in connection with your drug dealing.
"I conclude it was not used to scare as anyone looking at it would not know what it was.
"It can only be to inflict serious injury should the need arise."
After the sentencing hearing, Detective Inspector Alan Burns, of Leeds District CID, said: “Guns and ammunition have only one deadly purpose in the hands of criminals and our communities are much safer with those who possess them taken off the streets.
“Hammill was someone heavily involved in the organised supply of heroin, cocaine and cannabis and was clearly carrying this firearm as part of that criminal trade, which causes so much harm to individual users, their families and the wider community.
“We hope the significant sentence that he has received will serve as a warning to others who involve themselves in gun and drug crime about the serious penalties they will face.”