Man jailed after gun is found in Kent gym

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A gym customer caught with a gun and bullets inside his locker has been jailed for six years and three months.

Freddie Bell, 22, of Patterdale Road, Dartford, stored the self-loading pistol and 10 rounds of ammunition inside a drawstring sports bag, which he then secured inside the men’s changing room at the premises in Darenth Road.

But the weapon was brought to the attention of police when Bell broke the gym’s policy of keeping a locker overnight, resulting in his padlock being cut by a member of staff.

He was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday 17 December 2019 after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition. The prison term includes one year for breaching the terms of a suspended sentence for a previous unrelated matter.

The court heard how Bell visited the gym on Friday 1 November 2019 and spoke to a receptionist about the whereabouts of his property, which had been removed from his locker two days previously.

He confirmed the number of the locker and gave an accurate description of the bag he had placed there, which by that point had already been seized by a police officer.

Bell then left his name and telephone number and was told he would be contacted once his belongings had been located.

He was arrested on Monday 18 November following an investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Dave Bull said: ‘Every firearm taken out of circulation is potentially a life saved.

‘Freddie Bell thought he could get away with storing this weapon at his gym and we thank staff for reporting it as soon as it was uncovered.

‘Anyone caught with a gun will face the full force of the law and the sentence in this case reflects the seriousness of having a firearm in your possession.’