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1 August 2016, 07:47 | Updated: 1 August 2016, 07:49
A man has been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment after admitting possessing a fully-automatic TEC 9mm machine pistol along with ammunition in Hastings.
Sussex Police say - Anthony Hearn, 43, of no fixed address, was sentenced when he appeared in custody at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday (19 July), having admitted possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life or enabling another to do so; possessing a prohibited automatic weapon; and possessing ammunition for a firearm without a certificate.
Tamara Callan, 43, of Strathnairn Street, Eltham, South East London, Hearn's partner, was initially charged with the same firearms offences but that prosecution was later discontinued by CPS. She was also charged with two offences of driving a vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit. She admitted these offences and was sentenced to 12 months disqualification from driving on 11 May at Hastings Magistrates Court.
Officers from Sussex Police arrested the pair in Wellington Square, Hastings town centre on the afternoon of Tuesday 1 March, and the weapon and ammunition was found in the footwell of a car they were in.
When police officers seized the gun from Hearn's possession, it was in a bag which contained a silencer and 16 rounds of ammunition.
The arrests, which followed an investigation by Sussex Police, were carried out safely and without violence or injury. Armed police officers took part in the operation but no shots were fired.
Five men, one aged 22 from Hastings, one aged 41 from Chatham, one aged 35 from South East London, one aged 46 also from South east London, and one aged 23 from St Leonards, who were also arrested on Tuesday 1 March in Hastings and Bexhill on suspicion of being concerned in the sale or transfer of a prohibited weapon and ammunition, are currently on on police bail until 18 August while enquiries continue.
Detective Superintendent Nick May of Sussex Police's East Sussex Division said; "The gun seized in this operation is a fully working machine pistol capable of firing up to 900 rounds per minute, a potentially devastating weapon that we have been able to take off the streets of Sussex. It is vital that we continue to receive support from our communities so that we can effectively tackle crime, and take weapons like this off our streets.
"If you have any information that could lead to the seizure of illegally held firearms, or that could help us in tackling serious crime, please get in touch with us via email@example.com or call 101. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111 (www.crimewtoppers-org.uk)”.