Kirkcaldy gun man jailed over weapons find

John Stewart, formerly of Cook Street, was found with one of the weapons. Picture: Google
John Stewart, formerly of Cook Street, was found with one of the weapons. Picture: Google

A man has been jailed for 27 months after he imported two handguns from the continent.

John Stewart (33) was found with one of the weapons at his home in Dysart and a second was intercepted on its way to his address from Spain.

A judge told Stewart: “You have pled guilty to firearms offences which concern handguns and firearms offences of that sort are always treated very seriously.”

Lord Turnbull said at the High Court in Edinburgh: “They can fall into the wrong hands all too easily and they can then be used to commit the most serious offences with terrible consequences for members of the public.”

The judge told Stewart that he was fortunate that the gun found at his home was not thought to fall into the category of weapon that attracted a minimum sentence of at least five years imprisonment.

Lord Turnbull told Stewart, formerly of Cook Street, that a custodial sentence was “inevitable”.

The court heard that intelligence was received by the Organised Crime Partnership, made up of officers from Police Scotland and the National Crime Agency, that a firearm had been purchased from a Spanish website and forwarded to Stewart.

The Border Force alerted a courier firm to make checks for further packages being sent to his address.

On May 31 this year a package destined for his home was spotted at a distribution centre and found to contain an Atak pistol.

During searches at Stewart’s home and at a vehicle a further firearm was discovered, which was found to have been altered to allow for live firing of projectiles.

Stewart denied that anyone gave him money to buy it or that he was planning to sell it.

He was asked: “There must have been a reason that you clicked to buy it?” He replied: “Just fascinating, that’s all.”

He was questioned as to how he found himself on a Spanish web site looking to buy such an item and said: “Just come up on a search.”

He was asked: “What were you looking for then?”. He told officers: “Blank guns.” He accepted he did not have a legitimate use for them

Both handguns were prohibited weapons designed as gas or alarm pistols.

Stewart earlier admitted being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of such items between December 11 and 14 last year and on May 31 this year.

He also admitted possessing one the handguns at his home between December 11 last year and May 31 this year.

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said Stewart has had “a fascination” with such items for some time.