Jail for Buxton man who hid guns in bedroom

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A Buxton man who hid guns in his bedroom has been jailed for 11 years.

Dominic Birch, 21, of Harpur Hill Road, was sentenced at Derby Crown Court after being found guilty at trial of possessing firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

He was arrested in July 2013 after Derbyshire police received information regarding a package that was addressed to him. The package was intercepted and it contained an UZI 9mm gun.

He pleaded guilty to the importation of illegal firearms and drugs possession and supply offences and was due to be sentenced in February 2015. Whilst on bail he received a FEG handgun, a silencer, component parts and ammunition.

A number of functioning firearms were seized from his bedroom including a Glock pistol, an AK47 type weapon, the FEG self-loading pistol and a Skorpion submachine gun, which were loaded.

Hundreds of rounds of live ammunition and a gun that was disguised as a pen, which had bullets, and was capable of firing, were also discovered, along with a significant quantity of Class A and B drugs.

Defending, Adrian Farrow, said: “These were genuine and loaded firearms for which there was no lawful intention. There is no evidence that he would have used any of the firearms at any point. He’d had them between 12 and 14 months when he was arrested in February.”

Mr Farrow said that there had been no evidence to suggest that the £10,000 worth of guns and ammunition were part of a drug-dealing empire. The guns had never been fired and Birch said he only intended to shoot them at trees.

He said: “Those who know him are at somewhat of a loss of how to understand his actions. It is wholly and utterly out of character for him, an ‘interest gone sour’.

Sentencing Birch, Judge Nirmal Shant QC, said: “You are a young man who is somewhat of a mystery to those around you. All describe you as a good, kind son, employer, boyfriend and worthwhile friend, which is in stark contrast to the haul of weapons you stored in your bedroom. One only has to look at the headlines to know how dangerous guns are.”

Birch, who pleaded guilty to the possession of firearms and drugs supply offences, was given eight years for the firearms offences, which amounted to seven counts. He is expected to serve half of his sentence behind bars.

Judge Shant said: “There was no immediate attempt but there was an intention to endanger life had the need arose - you had the firearms in relation to the possession of drugs.”

Detective Inspector Shaun McElheron from Buxton CID said: “While we are pleased with the conviction there are no winners here. A law abiding family will miss many years of their son’s growing up as he’ll be incarcerated for a very long time.

“This was a joint investigation led by Derbyshire police with the full support and expertise of the National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police’s gun crime unit, Operation Trident. We also worked closely with colleagues in Europe and America.

“It may seem appealing for some people to use the Internet for unlawful purposes and think that they are subsequently not identifiable. This investigation has shown that this is not the case.

“We will continue to work with overseas agencies to ensure that people purchasing and importing illegal firearms are stopped in their tracks and brought to justice.”

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Jason Hendy of the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command, said: “Birch is a very dangerous individual who had no qualms about obtaining lethal firearms, including a submachine gun. The destruction such weapons could have caused can only be imagined and I am pleased that he has now been jailed for a significant period of time.”