A man who threw a loaded gun to the ground during a police chase through a Sheffield estate has been jailed for five years.
Charles James Ward, aged 21, of City Road, was caught with the 9mm Russian Baikal when police officers stopped a car in Arbourthorne in May after extra patrols were ordered following a shooting in neighbouring Manor the month before.
When the car pulled over on East Bank Road, Ward - one of four occupants inside - fled. When officers tracked him down they found a handgun dumped nearby.
Speaking after Ward admitted possessing a prohibited weapon during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, detective chief inspector Bob Chapman, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “Following intensive forensic work the firearm and Charles Ward were linked, which resulted in his guilty plea.
“Sheffield district police commit considerable resources to gun and gang crime and this is an excellent result, resulting in a 9mm weapon connected to criminality being taken off the streets and the offender given a lengthy prison sentence.
“When officers stopped the car Ward was travelling in and gave chase, they had no idea of the risk they were being exposed to, not knowing that he was carrying a loaded handgun. “It was only when they detained him and found the handgun that the reason for him running away became apparent.”
DCI Chapman said Ward was stopped in an operation mounted after a 26-year-old man was shot in his neck the month before.
He said the ‘proactive’ operation formed part of South Yorkshire Police’s ongoing crackdown on guns and gangs.
“Sheffield, compared with other major cities, really has a low gun crime problem, but we invest significant resources and are relentless in our efforts to identify, target and disrupt those involved.
“If you get involved you will come to our attention and be arrested and prosecuted.”