Man jailed for firearms offences - St Albans

30/07/2012

Robert Parke was jailed for 5-years 8-months on Monday, 30 July 2012, after his fingerprints were found on bags wrapped around an imitation pistol and on tape stuck to a stun gun.

The pistol was hidden behind a crash barrier, where it was found by a family on a treasure hunt, and the stun gun had been left beneath a slide in a children's playground.

Michael Speak, for the Crown Prosecution Service, told St Albans Crown Court that a family searching for clues discovered the gun wrapped in two bags behind a road side crash barrier on Woodcock Hill in Sandridge on 13 November last year.

The police were called and the Italian Bruni self-loading pistol was examined. It was designed to fire 8mm blank cartridges and had been used in a robbery on 19 October.

Scientists examined the bags and were able to lift one of Parke's fingerprints from a black bag and 11 more from a Sainsbury's plastic bag.

On 22 December police, acting on information, found a stun gun designed to look like a mobile phone under a slide in a playground near to Parke's home in Chalkdell Fields, St Albans. The gun, which was designed to discharge an electric shock, was wrapped in electrical tape. Two of Parke's fingerprints were found on the tape.

Police arrested Parke who said he had been offered the  imitation gun for sale by travellers and had given it back to them. When questioned about the stun gun he said to the police: "What have you got then? Charge me for possession of electrical tape."

But yesterday, Monday, 30 July 2012, Parke of Chalkdell Fields, St Albans pleaded guilty to having a firearm in a public place and possessing a disguised firearm. He had 7 previous court appearances.

Andel Singh, defending, said there was no suggestion the stun gun was used or connected to criminal activity. "It was of Chinese origin and is a non-lethal self defence weapon."

He said Parke is single and lives with his mother. His father died recently.

Jailing him Judge Stephen Warner said: "You were not involved in the robbery, but the mischief is that items like this are in circulation because people like you are prepared to store them." He said there was no legitimate purpose to holding the guns.

The judge passed a sentence of 8-months for the imitation gun and a consecutive five years for the stun gun.

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