Handguns, as well as a haul of cash and gold bullion were discovered at the home of Michael Naughton after forensic tests had initially linked him to a cannabis factory in Horton Kirby.
Patrols detected a cultivation of around 200 cannabis plants, at a facility near Lombard Street, in July 2020. When crime scene investigators took samples from a coffee cup lid and two cigarettes butts, these led to the recovery of DNA which matched Naughton. On 30 November, a search warrant was executed at his home address in Wrenthorpe Road, Bromley.
The 54-year-old led officers to a wardrobe, where he kept a stash of six gold bars and cash. As he was showing where the possessions had been stored, he was seen to try and push something to the back of the wardrobe. Further searches revealed Naughton had been attempting to conceal a revolver, which was hidden behind some clothing. Several rounds of ammunition, compatible with the gun, were found contained in a bag and nearby chest of drawers. A second firearm was located in the kitchen. More than £21,000 in cash was also recovered from the property, which along with the gold was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
During police interview Naughton claimed the firearms had come into his possession after working on house clearances more than 15 years ago, adding he kept the weapons because he ‘thought they were interesting’. He insisted the money and gold were his and a result of an inheritance and life savings. Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court, Naughton pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a firearm and a charge of possessing ammunition without a certificate. Two further counts of possessing criminal property were ordered by the court to remain on file. He was sentenced on 19 February 2021.
Detective Constable Chris Relf of West Kent CID said: ‘Kent Police is committed to tackling serious and organised crime and ensuring illegally-held firearms are removed from the streets and destroyed, so they cannot be used to commit other offences or cause fear of violence. Whilst there was insufficient evidence to convict Naughton of any offences linked to the cannabis cultivation, his DNA clearly showed he had been in the same room where the plants were found. This gave us reasonable grounds to execute a search warrant at his home. One of the firearms we found was fully functioning, while the second handgun would have only needed a few replacement parts to ensure it could also be used a lethal weapon.’