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16 April 2014, 12:03 | Updated: 16 April 2014, 12:06
A Leighton Buzzard man was jailed for 5 years today after his fingerprints were found all over plastic bags which contained a sawn-off shot gun.
Wesley Bradbery, 21, told the police that he was looking after the gun for somebody else.
Prosecutor Kevin West told Luton crown court that on 28 October last year a roofer working at the MOT Centre in Billington Road in Leighton Buzzard saw a black bag in an alleyway.
He unzipped the bag and found the gun, which was wrapped inside black bags.
A forensic examination was carried out and 20 matches were made with Bradbery's fingerprints.
A face mask with eye hole cuts was also in the bag.
Bradbery, of Baker Street, Leighton Buzzard, pleaded guilty to possessing the sawn off gun, an offence that carries a mandatory 5 year minimum sentence.
He and Charlie James, also 21, of Hayhurt, Luton, also admitted burglary.
Mr West said the two men had broken into the Energy Fitness Club in Leighton Road, Linslade on 19 December last year and stole a laptop, desktop computer, cash, a cash box and money bags. Patrolling police officers spotted the men at 3.30 in the morning.
James made off, but was arrested after the police sent a dog after him. Bradbery, who had been held at the scene, struggled free but was also arrested shortly afterwards.
Toby Long, defending Bradbery, said he had been with his partner for 6 years and they have a 4 year old child.
He said that "weaker and vulnerable" people such as his client were often asked to look after firearms for others.
He said Bradbery understood he faced the mandatory minimum term.
For James, Mark Fidler asked for credit for his early guilty plea. He said James had believed the Fitness Club was unoccupied at the time because it was undergoing refurbishment. He said James had drug and mental health issues.
Recorder Tim Clark passed a 5 year sentence on Bradbery, with a concurrent 3 month term for the burglary.
He gave James a 12 month Community Order with 80 hours' unpaid work and a curfew between 7pm and 6am for two months.