A MAN has avoided an immediate prison sentence after being caught in possession of an unlicensed shotgun.
Paul Falco, 52, from Beck Row, found the gun while clearing the home of his late father-in-law and had intended to hand it over to police, it was claimed.
But last Friday, Ipswich Crown Court heard how Falco was too preoccupied with his wife’s ill health and held on to the firearm for two weeks.
Falco, who had pleaded guilty to being in possession of a shotgun without a shotgun certificate, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years.
Police investigating other alleged offences found the single-barrelled Spanish 12-bore shotgun in a cupboard in the hallway of Falco’s home at Willow Park on February 4 last year.
Falco told police that he had intended to hand the gun in during the next firearms amnesty.
Prosecuting, Godfried Duah said Falco had denied having the gun for his own protection.
In mitigation, Joanne Eley said Falco had kept the gun locked in a cupboard to make sure it did not fall into the hands of his grandchildren.
She said: “It seems he was trying to take a very sensible course in securing this firearm before he was able to take it to a police station.”
Judge Peter Fenn said possession of an unlicensed firearm was regarded as a serious offence and normally led to an immediate prison sentence.
Falco was also ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid community work within the next year.