A man who was caught with a "crudely modified" airgun in his man bag thanked a judge profusely as he was jailed.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Kyle Simm, 39, from Dingle, was caught with a gas-powered revolver, modified to shoot lead bullets, and four rounds of live ammunition on September 29 2023.
Police had been on patrol in Old Swan, at around 8.15pm when they noticed a white KIA Niro PHV driving onto Derby Lane with a "suspicious" male passenger in the back seat.
Prosecutor Neil Bisarya, at Liverpool Crown Court on 17 November, said: "The male sat in the rear of the taxi slouched with only his head visible. It appeared he was attempting to make himself less conspicuous and as a result the police decided to stop the vehicle to find out where the male was going and what he was doing."
The vehicle was pulled over by police on Prescot Road, and officers spoke to the passenger, identified as Simm.
Simm then got out of the car and said "nervously" that he was going to Dovecot to visit his son. As police looked into the back seat of the taxi and noticed Simm's "man bag" in the footwell, Simm fled in the direction of St Oswald's Street, turning onto Baden Road and vanishing after "likely jumping over an alley gate".
Police then searched the bag, which was found to contain a Brocock ME38 Magnum self-contained gas cartridge revolver and four rounds of Remington brand .22 rimfire cartridges, along with Simm's bank card, cash, a pipe and a lighter.
The airgun had been "crudely modified" to fire real bullets, however, an examination of the weapon found the ham-handed alteration would not have been able to fire as intended.
On Saturday, September 30, police visited Simm's address and spoke to his ex-partner, who had not seen him since he left the house the previous evening.
Further enquiries led police to a family member's home on October 4, where Simm was found hiding in the loft, and arrested.
He later pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the possession of the firearm, and two charges relating to the possession of the ammunition.
An analysis of his mobile phone showed searches for "glock" and "shotgun", and multiple photographs of guns.
Matthew O'Neill, defending, said: "He accepts, at age 39, his past has been blighted by the misuse of drugs and unfortunately this misuse of drugs has led him to a life of crime."
He said Simm, who has 17 convictions for 30 offences, "did not wish for him to offer any explanation as to why he has found with a dangerous weapon", but added: "There was no indication on his behalf for it to be used for any criminal purposes and he hadn't used it that evening."
Sentencing Simm to a total of seven and a half years in prison, Judge Andrew Menary said: "I know very little about your reasons for carrying that weapon on the night. Given it was being carried in a bag in the back of a taxi I'm bound to assume you were in possession of it for an illegal purpose.
"It may be that you were carrying it for another, but that was a role being played by you. The purpose could have been to do with drugs, or some serious dishonesty offence such as robbery, by you or someone else. But I'm sure your possession of the weapon was in connection with serious criminal offending."