A gang member who hid guns at addresses across Merton in London has been jailed.
Kyle Blackford, aged 22, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition at Kingston Crown Court on 30 September.
He was sentenced to 18 years and eight months’ imprisonment at the same court on Friday, 21 October. He must serve a minimum of 12 years.
During the same trial on 30 September, Jackie Curtis, aged 29, and Stuart Davidson, aged 32, both of Gayle Close, Mitcham, were found guilty of possession of a prohibited firearm and handling stolen property.
They were each sentenced on Friday, 21 October to five years and six months’ imprisonment. They must serve a minimum of five years.
Reporting restrictions were in place until Peter Martin, aged 53, of Richmond Court, Mitcham went on trial at Kingston Crown Court for possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition. He was found not guilty on Monday, 14 November.
On 16 March 2015 a shotgun was found in a public place in Wimbledon by some builders walking past some bushes in Endeavour Way. The shotgun was wrapped in a pillowcase and two plastic bags and was inside a holdall. Also in the holdall were shotgun cartridges, jogging bottoms and a pair of gardening gloves.
Police tested the items for DNA and the pillowcase, jogging bottoms and gloves all forensically matched Blackford (pictured).
On 11 June 2015 police carried out a misuse of drugs search warrant at an address in Gayle Close, Mitcham, where Curtis and Davidson were living. While carrying out the search, officers found drug paraphernalia, a stolen bicycle worth £5,000, and a revolver style handgun. The gun was wrapped in two socks, which were inside two plastic bags inside a holdall.
Police tested the items and Blackford’s DNA was on the revolver and one of the socks.
On 11 September 2015 police carried out a misuse of drugs search warrant at an address in Richmond Court, Mitcham where Peter Martin lived. Inside a wardrobe, officers found a pistol that was wrapped in two socks and two further plastic bags. Blackford’s DNA was on one of the socks. Martin told police he did not know the gun was there.
The court heard about the similarities of the circumstances surrounding the warrants carried out in Gayle Close and Richmond Court, as well as how the method for storing the firearms on all three occasions was the same.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Tim Grinsted from Trident and Area Crime Command said:”Blackford clearly had a strong hold over Curtis and Davidson, which is why he stored firearms at their address. Individuals who are addicts or vulnerable are often used by gang members to store items such as drugs, stolen property or firearms in order to keep their hands clean and avoid detention by the police. The gang member can exert their control over these people by feeding their drug habit or, in many instances, by fear or use of violence.
“I am pleased with these sentences and the knowledge that three guns have been taken off the streets of London.”
Anyone with information about where firearms are stored, or about people who use them, is urged to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.