Havant man jailed for over five years after being caught with gun, ammunition, knuckle-duster and pepper spray
A MAN who was busted by police in his BMW with a modified blank firing pistol, ammunition, pepper spray and a knuckle-duster has been locked up for more than five years.
Charlie Watts was driving his car in Havant along Lockerley Road, where he lived, when he was swarmed by officers who made the ‘concerning’ discoveries on December 8, 2019.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Watts, who was travelling with his girlfriend, was ordered to get out of the vehicle before owning up to having a knuckle-duster and pepper spray in his pocket - which were seized.
Police called for back-up before officers and a dog handler arrived.
The 25-year-old told police: ‘There is something in the boot I am holding for someone else. I don’t know if it is real.’
Prosecutor Matthew Lawson said a search was carried out before a black bag was located in the boot. Wrapped inside a magazine was a modified BBM Bruni 96 handgun and two bullets.
The court heard the gun had a barrel up to 30cm and the pistol was up to 60cm in length overall. Two 8mm bullets were also found.
‘The front block of the gun had been removed and a tubing fitted to make it a working handgun,’ Mr Lawson said.
‘The gun was tested and could fire.
‘Two blank cartridges were found but had been modified and turned into real bullets.’
Watts insisted he had no knowledge of what was inside the bag. ‘I was only transporting it from one place to another and did not know the gun was real,’ he said.
However, the court was told Watts’ fingerprints were found on the grip of the pistol and on the magazine.
Also found in the car was over a kilo of white powder benzocaine - a legal cutting agent used with cocaine.
The court heard Watts was apparently ‘fearful of an assault’ but refused to ‘say exactly what was going on’.
Judge William Ashworth told Watts: ‘You were found with a modified blank firing pistol fitted with a tube so it could work - it was capable of firing.
‘There were also two rounds of ammunition. It was capable of firing two rounds in quick succession.
‘There was over a kilo of benzocaine, a cutting agent for cocaine. This is the only indication between the firearm and drugs supply.
‘You provided no explanation but it is clearly of great concern to the court.’
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The judge rejected Watts’ tale he was merely transporting the firearm for someone. ‘Your fingerprints were found on the pistol and magazine,’ he said, before adding: ‘You knew the gun was real and able to be used.’
Despite having no similar previous convictions, the judge concluded Watts was fully aware of what he was involved in. ‘You armed yourself which means at best you realised there would be some criminal purpose for the person you were supposed to be passing (the gun) onto,’ he said.
Watts admitted four charges including possessing a firearm, ammunition, a prohibited weapon and an offensive weapon.
He was locked up for five years and seven months by the judge.