A Leighton Buzzard man has been jailed for five years after his fingerprints were found all over plastic bags which contained a sawn-off shotgun.
Wesley Bradbery, 21, told the police that he was looking after the gun for somebody else.
Prosecutor Kevin West told Luton Crown Court on Wednesday that on October 28 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 five-year minimum sentence.
He and Charlie James, also 21, of Hayhurst Road, Luton, also admitted burglary.
Mr West said the two men had broken into the energie fitness club in Leighton Road, Linslade on December 19 last year and stole a laptop, desktop computer, cash, a cash box and money bags.
Patrolling police officers spotted the men at 3.30am. 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 six years and they have a four-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 five-year sentence on Bradbery, with a concurrent three-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.