A MAN has been jailed for five years after a store of firearms and ammunition was discovered at his home during an armed police operation.

After police received information that he had a stock of potentially lethal weapons, armed officers swooped on John James Macleod’s home in Great Lumley, near Chester-le-Street in September last year.

The Northern Echo:

Macleod, then aged 26, was detained by officers in a garden shed at the property, where police also discovered seven cannabis plants.

Search teams then uncovered four firearms and 85 rounds of ammunition inside the house, all concealed in black bin bags sealed with masking tape.

The haul included a double barreled sawn-off shotgun, a Llama self-loading pistol, a revolver and a paintball gun which had been converted into a viable automatic weapon, along with 43 live 9mm bullets, 25 shotgun cartridges and a magazine of ammunition.

The Northern Echo:

Macleod, 27, of Sevenacres, in Great Lumley, subsequently admitted a string of firearms offences and last week appeared before Durham Crown Court where he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

PC Andrew Stephenson, from West Durham CID, said: “As soon as we received information that guns and ammunition were stored at the address we acted swiftly and decisively to deal with the threat.

“Durham has traditionally been an area with very low levels of gun crime, but all the firearms we recovered were potentially lethal weapons.

“It was clear that we needed to get these weapons safely off the street as quickly as possible to protect the public.

“We are pleased with the five-year prison sentence imposed by the court, which gives a clear and unambiguous message that anyone caught with illegally-held firearms will face the full weight of the law."

The Northern Echo: