A FORMER juvenile offender’s custodial sentence in 2004 could have landed him back behind bars following the discovery of a collection of air weapons at his home earlier this month.
Jamie Bradley arrived at Durham Crown Court for sentence with a clothing bag, fearing he was facing an immediate prison sentence.
The court heard that he was sent for sentence by magistrates after his appearance before them on June 7, when he pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and possessing a firearm when prohibited.
Both charges arose from a police visit to his home in Bearpark, near Durham, on June 5, when officers found a cannabis farm in operation, in a second bedroom.
Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, 31 plants were recovered in various stages of growth, with tents, electricity powering equipment, transformers and other paraphernalia for the cultivation of cannabis present.
Bradley immediately admitted the growth was for his own personal use, and Miss Lamballe said the lack of other tell-tale evidence, like dealer’s lists, indicated that might have been the case.
But while police were at the house, in Quarry Crescent, they also recovered an air rifle in a black canvas slip cover from the same bedroom as the cannabis.
A duffle bag was found in the main bedroom containing a .177 revolver and a Co2 air pistol, plus three tins of air pellets and a quantity of blank firing ammunition.
Further ammunition was found on a shelf in the bedroom and in a shoe box on the staircase.
The court heard his possession of such firearms was prohibited due to a three-year sentence in a young offenders’ institution he served as a teenager.
Miss Lamballe said, as a consequence of that conviction, he is prohibited from possessing firearms for life.
Bradley claimed he was told the prohibition only applied for five years after the expiry of the sentence.
He said he bought the air weapons online when he previously lived in London and brought them with him when he moved to the North-East.
Miss Lamballe said in total 34-year-old Bradley has 11 convictions for 20 offences, but has not appeared before a court for the last ten years.
David Callan, in mitigation for Bradley, said he put in immediate guilty pleas when he appeared before magistrates just two days after his arrest.
Mr Callan said given the fact he has been out of trouble for ten years, made immediate admissions and the fact that the cannabis he was growing was for his own use and not as a commercial enterprise, he would be seeking a non-custodial outcome.
Recorder Joanne Kidd said there did not seem to be any “obvious financial motivation” to his cultivation of the cannabis.
She said that as Bradley had been out of trouble for such a long period of his life she accepted the recent offences did not reflect a “falling back” to his old criminal ways.
Recorder Kidd imposed an 18-month community order, with 20 probation activity programme days Bradley must attend.
She also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the cannabis plants, growing equipment and the recovered air weapons and ammunition.
Full story is available here.