Men jailed for shortening stolen shotgun - Luton

06/02/2015

On Friday, 06 February 2015, at Luton Crown Court, four men were sentenced to more than 27 years in custody after a stolen shotgun was shortened with an angle grinder and a cutting disc bought from B&Q in Luton.

Dylan Beckford and Deon Ellis made the shopping trip and took the tools to a bedsit in Russell Rise in the town, where the gun was cut down. As armed police arrived on the scene, the gun and the severed part of the barrel were thrown out of the window, Luton Crown Court heard.

On Monday,  Beckford, aged 19, and co-defendant, Alex Myers, aged 23, both from Luton pleaded not guilty to possessing a shotgun and a second charge of shortening it. Beckford was convicted by a majority of 10 to 2 and Myers by a majority of 11 to 1.

Ellis, aged 25, and Victor Martin, aged 44, also both from Luton pleaded guilty to both charges at an earlier hearing.

The men were arrested on Monday, 23 June last year at the bedsit by a police firearms team as part of Operation Bosun - a crackdown on gun crime by Beds Police. As the officers arrived, the sawn off gun and the severed part of the barrel were thrown out of a window, said prosecutor, Stephen Hopper.

He said the gun, an 'over and under' shotgun, had been stolen during a burglary on 17 June last year. It was just six days later that the barrel was shortened. Two live cartridges were also found at the premises.

Mr Hopper said police raided the bedsit within 15 minutes of the last man arriving there, as they had been keeping observation in the area.

Ellis left his track suit top and trousers in the flat which revealed hundred of metal particles from where the gun had been cut with the grinder. Some metal particles were also found on Beckford's clothes.

Judge Richard Foster said all four were involved in the joint enterprise. "Your criminal conduct was far worse than simply possessing the weapon. You planned to reduce it to a sawn off shotgun which can only be used for criminal purposes, and cartridges were also found."

He said Beckford and Martin were on bail for other matters at the time and said that Beckford, although the youngest, was a "sophisticated criminal well beyond his years."

Beckford was sentenced to seven years youth custody, and Myers to seven years imprisonment.  Ellis was jailed fror six years and nine months and Martin to six years and six months.

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