A TEENAGER who stole his father’s shotgun and ransomed it before hiding the loaded weapon behind a recycling bin outside a Chelmsley Wood pub has been handed a suspended jail sentence.
Cameron Turland of The Green, Coleshill, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to theft and possessing a loaded firearm in public.
Towards the end of last January Turland’s father Carl, with whom he lives, left for a business trip abroad and while he was away he became aware that his car had been taken and returned, so his ex-wife kept an eye on things as she passed.
On February 13 she saw Turland leave the house limping – and with hindsight she later realised that was because he had the shotgun down his trouser leg.
When Mr Turland returned home three days later he found his double-barrel 12-bore Beretta shotgun was missing from the gun cabinet, which had been locked, together with 25 cartridges.
So he checked the recording from his CCTV system and, on seeing his son apparently limping as he left the house, he realised who had taken the gun and ammunition.
He spoke to his ex-wife to discuss what they should do, and he then contacted Turland who said he would return the gun for £50.
But Turland did not return the shotgun once the money was transferred, and upped his demand by asking for a further £100 – which was not paid.
On February 18 a man who was having a drink in the Greenwood pub in Helmswood Drive, Chelmsley Wood, noticed Turland acting suspiciously by some recycling bins.
When Turland left, the man went over to see what he had been up to – and called the police after finding the shotgun, which had both barrels loaded, behind the bins.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said: “The leaving of a loaded shotgun in a public place, in a car park accessed by children, is reckless in itself and reckless that it could be used for criminal purposes.”
Derek Johashen, defending, said: “We would hope this is a case where Your Honour would accept that you could exercise your discretion to suspend the sentence.
“He is fully reconciled with his father, who is with him today. Clearly he has support and is trying to get over his difficulties. There is a clear recommendation in the pre-sentence report for support in the community.”
Recorder Jacob Hallam QC Turland to ten months in prison suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity for 30 days, and was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and to pay £225 costs.
He added: “I am satisfied you took the gun at a time when you were considering suicide, although I take the view that was not a settled intent – because if it was, you would not be here today.
“People who obtain firearms they are not entitled to have, and have such a firearm loaded in a public place commit offences that are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be contemplated, but it is appropriate I suspend such sentence on you.”