A 17-YEAR-OLD who stored a sawn-off shotgun under a bed at his grandmother's house has been jailed.
Christopher Huddleston was storing the illegal firearm to pay off a drug debt.
Huddleston can be identified by the Evening Post after an order preventing publication of his name was lifted.
Prosecutor Dean Pullen said at Swansea Crown Court that Huddleston, of Oystermouth Road, Swansea, had racked up a drugs debt of £100 and when he was unable to repay it, his dealer told him it would be cleared if he stored the weapon for him.
"He reluctantly agreed, so it was brought to the property and he hid it under the bed. He didn't take it out of the house and he had no access to ammunition," said Mr Pullen.
The debt was run up after Huddleston had bought 100 diazepam tablets.
In December, police were tipped off that a gun was in his grandmother's house and officers arrived and spoke to Huddleston. He originally told them the gun was elsewhere, but when officers searched the house, the single-barreled gun, measuring 48cm, was found.
He then told police: "I am in trouble now."
The gun was described as old but in full working order.
Huddleston had previous drugs matters on his record, the court heard.
Ian Wright, representing Huddleston, asked the judge not to impose the statutory minimum term of three years for the gun offence. He asked Judge Paul Thomas to grant exceptional circumstances and not impose a statutory minimum term, an application which the judge later refused.
Mr Wright said his client had had the gun for a matter of days and had not intended to use or remove it from the house.
Huddlestone admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and a charge of possession of class C drugs.
Judge Thomas said although he accepted Huddleston had pleaded guilty and shown remorse, he said the gun was intended to be used for criminal activity.
But he said Huddleston had taken pictures of the gun on his mobile phone, showing he was not "nervous or intimidated" by it, something he said was a "crucial" negative against him lowering the sentence's starting point.
He sentenced Huddleston to three years in a Young Offenders' Institute. A concurrent term of four months was added for the drugs charge.
The judge ruled that an order preventing the identification of Huddleston, imposed because of his age, could be lifted.
He said there was a "legimitate public interest" in people knowing Huddleston's "entrenched involvement" in drug offences which had led to his possession of the gun.
He said he wanted other drug users, and the unknown person who gave Huddleston the gun, to know the severity of sentence they could face for committing similar offences.