Men sentenced for firearms

25/09/2015

Four Merseyside men have been sentenced at Chester Crown Court, to a total of more than 25 years in jail and young offender' facilities for their part in possessing firearms.

Chester Crown Court heard that two of the men had been involved in importing antique guns from France to try and circumvent the firearms laws.

The two men were being sought by police following an earlier affray. The Border Agency had contacted Merseyside Police to say that one of them, Steven Lloyd, had been buying antique firearms from abroad.

Police had been searching the Netherton home of Jonathan Southward following the affray and found four handguns, three of them antiques.

The other was a modern, semi-automatic hand gun that had been used in another violent crime in Liverpool.

They also found ammunition components, home-made ammunition and ammunition making kits for the 3 antique guns.  It was clear that all of the guns were being used as live firearms.

Lloyd was arrested on suspicion of affray and for possessing three antique guns. He admitted buying 18 antique firearms in total and selling them on as antiques.

The police carried out further work into Lloyd and discovered he had also bought deactivated ammunition that might have fitted the antique guns and he had also bought the ammunition components and ammunition-making kits from France.

Tests on one of the antique guns showed a DNA match with Anthony Nolan, also from Netherton. He was arrested and a search of his home uncovered a modern rifle that had been stolen in a burglary the year before.

The DNA of Peter Stevens was also discovered on one of the antique guns and he was arrested.

Jonathan Southward, 25, of Dartmouth Drive, Netherton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess prohibited weapons with intent to endanger life and was jailed for nine years.

Steven Lloyd, 22, of Moss Lane, Litherland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess prohibited weapons with intent to endanger life and was jailed for 10-and-a-half years.

He was also sentenced to six years, to run concurrently for 15 offences of possessing prohibited firearms in relation ot the other antique guns hed bought and a modern firearm.

Anthony Nolan, 20, of Marie Curie Avenue, Netherton, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon and was sentenced to five years in a young offenders facility. He was also sentenced to two years for possession of a firearm, to run concurrently.

Peter Stevens, 18, of Cross Hey, Litherland, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon and was sentenced to three years in a young offenders facility. He was also sentenced for possession of Class B drugs for which he was sent to a young offenders facility for 28 days, to run concurrently.

Senior District Crown Prosecutor Geoff Fryar, of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The law allows people to own antique firearms only where they are held for 'curiosity or ornament'.

"That is no defence when the guns are being used to support criminal activity, which is clearly what was happening in this case.

"These men thought they could get around the strict gun laws by buying antiques and then sourcing the components so that they could be used but they were tracked down and prosecuted.

"The tough sentences handed out show that buying antique firearms for an ulterior motive will not be tolerated."