A SAWN-OFF shotgun and 51 rounds of ammunition were found hidden inside a lawnmower when Police searched the home of a burglary suspect.
Teenager Gavin Sohal had been arrested by detectives investigating a Balsall Common break-in where an Audi A4 was stolen after keys and a wallet were swiped from a kitchen drawer.
Police identified 19-year-old Sohal as a suspect when security cameras caught him using one of the stolen bank cards at a cash point shortly after the late night burglary in October.
And when a search team sifted through his Erdington home in December they found the double-barrelled shotgun and cartridges inside a lawnmower’s grass trimmings basket.
The firearm’s serial number led police to link it to a break-in at an address in Atherstone, Warwickshire, in March last year where thieves forced open a patio door to gain entry – the same tactic used during the Greenfield Avenue, Balsall Common, offence.
Sohal admitted burglary and possessing a firearm and at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday and he was jailed for five years for possessing a firearm and an additional 18 months for burglary.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Kate Fitzgerald said Sohal was a fairly familiar face to them having been previously arrested for drugs offences and aggravated vehicle taking – and when they looked at the CCTV footage they suspected Sohal was the burglar.
She added: “We have teams of search specialists, including sniffer dogs trained to detect firearms, available to support police warrants. Criminals may believe they’ve found ingenious hiding places for evidence but many, like Sohal, are quickly proved wrong.
“There’s no evidence to suggest Sohal used the firearm in anger or to assist in any offences but simply possessing a weapon is a very serious offence and one that’s guaranteed to result in a lengthy jail term.”I
The firearm’s serial number led police to link it to a break-in at an address in Atherstone as well as a burglary in Balsall Common. (s)