Over six years in prison for man who brandished imitation firearm outside Sheffield pub

'People who carry or use guns and knives will receive the substantial prison sentence due to them,' a judge told a Sheffield man as he jailed him for more than six years for a string of crimes including possession of an initiation firearm.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 7:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 8:16 pm
Aaron Divers was jailed for 76 months during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday

Judge David Dixon sentenced Aaron Divers to a total of 76 months in prison for charges of affray, possession of an imitation firearm, possession with intent to supply cannabis, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving without a license.

During Thursday's hearing, Sheffield Crown Court heard how the spate of offending carried out by Divers began after police officers went to arrest him on February 22 last year in connection with a Sheffield murder investigation that he was later cleared of any involvement in.

"Police searched the property, and under his bed was a package 909 grams of cannabis skunk, valued at £5,832 if sold in ounces, or £9,090 if sold as gram deals.

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Divers brandished an imitation firearm outside Barry's Bar in London Road in the early hours of May 27 last year

"The defendant's fingerprints were found on the package," said Felicity Hemlin, prosecuting.

Divers, of Nottingham Street, Burngreave, was then interviewed by police and told officers the cannabis was to be used to sell to friends and family and for his own personal use - a basis of plea that was later accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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While on bail and subject to a curfew, Sheffield Crown Court heard how Divers became involved in a brawl outside Barry's Bar in London Road at around 1.30am on May 27 last year, after a doorman refused him, and two of his friends, entry.

Divers brandished an imitation firearm outside Barry's Bar in London Road in the early hours of May 27 last year

After forcing their way into the bar and 'throwing things around' the three men were pushed out of the bar and back on to the street, at which point Divers went to his car and 'retrieved what looks like a black handgun,' said Ms Hemlin.

Divers did not hold the handgun, which is believed to have been an imitation firearm, to anyone but did point it towards the pub, the court heard.

Ms Hemlin added: "The doorman feared for his safety, and for the safety of members of the public. He closed the door to the pub and locked it. Divers drove the car on to the pavement, before speeding off down London Road."

Divers then committed the driving offences on July 1 last year, after officers began following him in a black Mercedes vehicle he was linked to at around 11.30am.

Instead of stopping for officers when asked, Divers embarked on a dangerous, five-minute chase during which he drove on the wrong side of the road, sped through blind junctions and failed to stop on roundabouts.

Divers, now aged 23, escaped police, but was later arrested in October last year. Police were not able to trace Divers between February and October, and circulated a wanted appeal, the court heard.

He was found guilty of the dangerous driving charge at a trial held earlier this year, but admitted the other offences.

Amanda Denton, defending, said Divers' offending had been sparked by the wrongful arrest in the murder investigation, the publicity surrounding which had also created rifts in his relationships with family members and his girlfriend.

She said: "He was, he would accept, at 22-years-old, absolutely desperate during these months. Frightened and estranged from the people who offered him proper support.

"He dealt with it emotively and immaturely."

Sending Divers to prison, Judge David Dixon said: "Within this city at the moment, you only have to look in the local papers to see there's [been] an extreme rise in the number of guns and knives.

"At this court I see drugs, I see guns and I see knives being used at a frightening level. The message must go out loud and clear: those people that take the view they are able to carry guns or knives with a view to frightening people - or worse - using them, will receive the substantial prison sentence due to them."

Judge Dixon also disqualified Divers, who only holds a provisional license, from driving for a period of 56-months.