Delivery driver ordered to do unpaid work after pleading guilty to owning fake firearm

Redford was given a suspended sentence by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Redford was given a suspended sentence by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

An Axminster man who ran an unofficial drugs hostel was caught with heroin and a fake gun.

Exeter Crown Court heard that Martin Redford’s home was raided by police who suspected it was being used as a base for drug dealing but only a small amount of heroin was recovered.

He admitted he still used a small amount of the drug and had shared it with other recovering addicts who lived with him.

He was found with an imitation Bruni 9mm pistol and a few rounds of blank ammunition but said one of his tenants gave them to him in lieu of rent.

Redford, aged 44, of Poplar Mount, Axminster, admitted supplying heroin and possession of an imitation firearm.

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He was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work and ten days of rehabilitation activities by Judge Timothy Rose, at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him:”I am concerned about the firearm. Although it could not cause physical harm, it was nonetheless a dangerous item. It looks like the real thing and in the hands of the wrong people, and I’m not saying you are one of them, it would be a very serious proposition.

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“If it was used in an offence such as robbery and the like, it could cause psychological harm. It is also readily and easily convertible into something that could be used to shoot people.

“Looking at the drugs offence, I give you credit for your mitigation but will treat the firearm as an aggravating feature.”

Mr Lee Bremridge, prosecuting, said the drugs and gun were recovered by police in April 2018 but Redford had always denied being a dealer. He asked for the heroin, a mobile phone and £460 cash to be forfeited.

Mr Simon Burns, defending, said Redford may have shared some of his heroin with his tenants but did not sell drugs for profit.

He works as a delivery driver for a charity shop and has turned his life around since his arrest, getting clean of heroin and spending most of his time with a new partner in North Devon.

Mr Burns said: “He was holding the firearm as collateral for his rent from a tenant who owed £200. He was running a drugs house for individuals who were trying to recover from addiction.

“He and others all had problems with addiction in the past and it was not easy for them to rid themselves of it without assistance.”

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