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Sheffield man kept loaded shotgun in living room and rounds of ammunition stashed in curtains, court hears

Darren Morton's loaded shotgun was discovered when police raided his home in Angleton Gardens, Manor (pictured) on May 25 this year. Picture: Google Maps
Darren Morton's loaded shotgun was discovered when police raided his home in Angleton Gardens, Manor (pictured) on May 25 this year. Picture: Google Maps
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A Sheffield man who hid a loaded shotgun in his living room and stashed rounds of ammunition in his curtains has been jailed for three years.

When police raided Darren Morton's home in Angleton Gardens, Manor on May 25 this year, they discovered a loaded shotgun wrapped in bin liners and a blanket, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

"Within the chambers [of the gun] they found two rounds of ammunition. Four additional rounds were sewn into the curtains. Two further rounds were found in a bag in the same wrapping as the shotgun. So eight rounds in total," prosecutor, Louise Gallagher, told the court.

When interviewed by police, Morton, aged 44, told officers he found the gun and the ammunition when he was walking his dog.

Morton's barrister, Chris Aspinall, explained: "He's out walking his dogs. One of the dogs disappears, and the defendant saw him return with what he thought was a stick in his mouth. He bends down to pick it up to throw it for the dog, and realised it was the butt of a gun. It wasn't in any wrapping.

"His two children live close to where he lives in Manor. He knows there's been gun crime in the area. He doesn't want to leave the shotgun where it is and risk children being shot.

"He's been in trouble for over 30-years with the police, and served numerous custodial sentences, and finds himself in a situation where he is in possession of a gun," said Mr Aspinall, adding that Morton intended to hold on to the gun and ammunition until the next firearm amnesty.

Ms Gallagher told the court that Morton's account of how he came to be in possession of the shotgun was not accepted by the Crown, which, she said 'made little sense'.

Morton pleaded guilty to possession of a shotgun without a certificate.

Mr Aspinall disputed the prosecution's assertion that four rounds of ammunition were sewn into the curtains in his living room, and said the defendant had simply stored them there because he believed it to be a place 'where no-one would find them'.

Judge Robert Moore told the court that he also rejected Morton's account of how the shotgun came into his possession, and jailed him for three years.

He said: "I'm satisfied so that I'm sure that you were keeping it for use, probably by others, at your property. Even if I had considered that on the balance of probability your story must have been true, I still would have passed a two year sentence because of the seriousness of keeping a loaded shotgun, with extra cartridges located nearby."

Judge Moore also ordered forfeiture and destruction of Morton's gun.

* South Yorkshire Police have been asked for a custody image of Morton