Luton Men Jailed For Shotgun Offences
10th February 2015
Bedford Police has welcomed the sentencing of four men to more than 27 years in custody after a stolen shotgun was shortened with an angle grinder and a cutting disc bought from B & Q in Luton.
Dylan Beckford (19) and Deon Ellis (25) made the shopping trip and took the tools to a bedsit in Russell Rise in the town, where the gun was cut down.
As armed police arrived on the scene, the gun and the severed part of the barrel were thrown out of the window, Luton crown court heard.
On Monday Beckford and co-defendant, Alex Myers (23), both from Luton pleaded not guilty to possessing a shotgun and a second charge of shortening it. Beckford was convicted by a majority of 10 to 2 and Myers by a majority of 11 to 1.
Ellis, 25, and Victor Martin, 44, also both from Luton pleaded guilty to both charges at an earlier hearing.
The men were arrested on Monday June 23 last year at the bedsit by a police firearms team as part of Operation Bosun - a crackdown on gun crime by Bedfordshire Police. As the officers arrived, the sawn off gun and the severed part of the barrel were thrown out of a window, said prosecutor, Stephen Hopper.
He said the gun, an 'over and under' shotgun, had been stolen during a burglary on June 17 last year. It was just six days later that the barrel was shortened. There were also two live cartridges found at the premises.
Mr. Hopper said police raided the bedsit within 15 minutes of the last man arriving there, as they had been keeping observation in the area.
Ellis left his track suit top and trousers in the flat which revealed hundreds of metal particles from where the gun had been cut with the grinder. Some metal particles were also found on Beckford's clothes.
Judge Richard Foster said all four were involved in the joint enterprise.
"Your criminal conduct was far worse than simply possessing the weapon. You planned to reduce it to a sawn off shotgun which can only be used for criminal purposes, and cartridges were also found."
He said Beckford and Martin were on bail for other matters at the time and said that Beckford, although the youngest, was a 'sophisticated criminal well beyond his years'.
Beckford was sentenced to seven years youth custody, and Myers to seven years imprisonment, Ellis was jailed for six years and nine months and Martin to six years and six months.
Detective Inspector Dani Fitzharris who investigated the case said after the sentencing: "Today's outcome is testament to the commitment of the Operation Boson team in taking dangerous offenders and their firearms off the streets to protect the wider public. The team have at their disposal specialist resources from across Bedfordshire Police in order to reduce gun related crime.
"These offenders now face a considerable time behind bars and that should make anyone thinking about possessing or using such firearms sit up and think about what it would be like spending that long in prison and the stigma caused around their families.
"It is also vital that we continue to work with the communities of Luton and our partners to rid the town of the threat from these firearms and those who deliberately choose to carry them. I believe the outcome of this case will send a clear message to anyone involved in this dangerous criminal world to think again, as we will find you.
"Since Operation Boson started in March 2013 the team has arrested 171 people.
"There are a number of measures available to the Police in order to support those who provide information regarding this type of criminality. So, I would encourage anyone who has information related to gun crime to contact the police."
If you have information relating to gun crime in Luton, you can contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence on 101 or text information to 07786 200011 or you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
For more information visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk