A former firearms certificate holder has been sentenced to five years in prison after NCA officers found a cache of weapons and ammunition in his home.
Jonathan Knight, aged 47 from Cannock, was arrested on the 30th January 2017 on suspicion of possessing a shotgun without a shotgun certificate by officers from the National Crime Agency’s Armed Operations Unit.
When his house was searched an unlicensed shotgun was discovered along with other illegal firearms and a huge amount of ammunition.
Knight was charged in April 2017 with eight offences relating to possessing 5 prohibited Brocock firearms, an unlicensed Baikal shotgun, 2 overpowered air weapons, sound moderators and more than 6,300 rounds of ammunition.
He pleaded guilty to all offences on 1 June 2017 and was sentenced today at Birmingham Crown Court.
Jon Greenwell from the National Crime Agency said:
“From the enquiries we have made it doesn’t appear that Jonathan Knight was actively involved in the sale of illegal firearms. However as a firearms enthusiast and former license holder Knight was well aware of the risks posed by his weapons and the requirement to obtain the correct license or surrender them immediately. His collection posed a significant risk to the public had it been stolen or sold to criminals.
“Five of the seized weapons were Brocock self-contained gas cartridge firearms which were formerly lawful to own and sell. However, due to the ease at which they could be converted to fire live ammunition, and the increase in criminals purchasing them, they were made illegal to own following the introduction of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.
“Those who already owned self-contained gas cartridge firearms were able to keep them but had to obtain a firearm certificate. We believe there are a number of individuals who may still own a self-contained gas cartridge firearms, but do not have the correct certificate and are therefore unwittingly committing an offence by owning a Section 5 firearm.
“To avoid facing a criminal conviction and a possible custodial sentence, we would encourage everyone to check they have the correct certification for all the firearms they own. We would also encourage people to contact their local firearms licensing department should they need any further advice, or to arrange surrender of any weapons or ammunition they no longer want or of which they should not be in possession”.
The NCA work with partners to target the movement of lawfully held firearms into the criminal market and further reduce the availability of firearms and ammunition to criminals and terrorists.
Anyone with information about illegally held firearms can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.