The owner of a ‘Steptoe and Son’ style junk shop has been jailed for three years after he was found to have military ammunition for sale.
Police searched Darren Brown’s home in Preston, and found it was rammed to the rafters with junk ready to sell at his nearby bric-a-brac shop, That Shop.
But when they discovered shotgun cartridges and books about guns stashed in a bedroom at the terraced house, they went to search his Plungington Road shop - where they found a stun-gun, drugs and more ammunition, hidden in two locked safes.
Recorder Mark Ainsworth, sentencing, said: “There is no lawful or legitimate purpose for possessing these items in everyday civilian life.”
Brown, 51, is banned from possessing firearms or ammunition as he has previously served a prison sentence for burglary and has convictions for harassment and making threats to kill.
Preston Crown Court heard he would take regular shipments of boxes from house clearance firms and a friend who worked at a recycling unit to sell in his second hand shop.
He would not know what was inside until he opened them.
Thomas Fitzpatrick, prosecuting, said: “The defendant is somebody trading like a Steptoe and Son character.”
Judge Ainsworth said: “He has not set himself up as an arms dealer but he must have known if he came across this stock coming into the shop he had to give it up very, very quickly.”
The items seized included a number of NATO bulleted rifle cartridges, two NATO shotgun cartridges, Parabellum pistol cartridges and a stun-gun which doubled up as a torch.
There was also a small amount of amphetamine stashed in a safe at the shop.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “The police were quite satisfied that whatever he was up to he wasn’t a closet gangster.”
But Recorder Ainsworth replied: “The problem is, who is going to buy it?”
Shirley Duckworth, defending, said Brown was not advertising the stock although the ammunition was available for sale.
Brown pleaded guilty to: possession of ammunition without a certificate; possession of ammunition when prohibited; possession of ammunition for sale or transfer; possession of a prohibited weapon, namely a stun gun; possession of class B amphetamines.
Judge Ainsworth said: “Every attempt is made in this country to ensure that only those people who are regarded as suitable and responsible should have access to firearms or ammunition.
“The consequences of somebody who isn’t responsible has access to ammunition of this sort are all too clear.
“If a person comes before the court having had possession of military style ammunition without regulation, for r sale or transfer, then I must take it very seriously indeed.
“In this case the vast majority of the ammunition had no lawful purpose in civilian life.”