A former holiday camp worker has been jailed for two years and 10 months after he was caught with three stolen shotguns in his garage just hours after they had been taken in a burglary.
Daniel Bergin, 39, agreed to look after the weapons and sold other items taken in the same raid to fund his heroin habit.
He was jailed after a judge at Exeter Crown Court told him the guns and two boxes of ammunition could easily have found their way to other criminals and posed a risk to the safety of the public.
The three guns, two rifles, and the boxes of rifle ammunition were all stolen from a house in Gammaton Road, Bideford, in July last year.
Members of the public alerted police after seeing Bergin and another man unloading items into his garage early on a Sunday morning.
Police recovered the shotguns, a single shotgun shell, and one box of rifle bullets from the garage. They found the second box of bullets at a friend’s house along with £1,000 of stolen items from the same burglary.
The two rifles were found buried near Bideford after an anonymous tip off to police.
Bergin, of Churchill Road, Bideford, admitted handling stolen goods but denied possession of the shotguns and bullets without a certificate.
He was found guilty by a jury and jailed by Judge David Evans, who told him: “Goodness knows what could have happened if these guns and bullets had found their way, as is usual with stolen weapons, into the hands of those who wanted to use them for ill.
“It seems you did not care. All you were worried about was funding your heroin habit. You did not care about the safety of the public.”
During a two day trial the jury were told that police were tipped off about the guns being taken into the outbuilding and were recovered by police within hours of a burglary from the home of a properly registered keeper at nearby Gammaton Road.
Bergin had already taken other items from same raid including an iPad and another box of bullets to a friend, where he exchanged them for drugs.
He denied possessing the weapons and ammunition. He said they had been left in the garage by someone else and he never had legal ownership or control over them.
Mr Richard Crabb, defending, said none of the weapons had been put to any sinister purpose and Bergin never had any intention of using them or letting them fall into the wrong hands.