Glasgow & West Scotland

Plastic bag saves Jamie Blair from gun find jail term

A man who admitted possessing a shotgun has avoided prison after an old plastic bag helped prove his explanation.

Jamie Blair, 34, was arrested after police found the gun in the loft of his mother's home in Helensburgh.

He claimed he was given the weapon by older boys when he was 14.

Judge Lord Turnbull accepted that the weapon had lain untouched for 20 years after hearing it was wrapped in an old plastic bag. He ordered Blair to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Normally, possession of a gun attracts a five-year jail sentence unless there are exceptional circumstances.

'Forceful factor'

The judge said: "The fact that the gun was found wrapped in a bag which dated from 1989 is a forceful factor in this case."

Lord Turnbull said he also took into account the difficulty in accessing the loft, which had no ladder.

He added: "I am satisfied that it would be right to accept the accused's evidence that the item concerned was wrapped in the same spot for 20 years."

The court heard that Blair was arrested in May last year after police discovered the weapon hidden in a loft at the home he shared with his mother.

He admitted possessing the firearm but said he had been given the shotgun when he was just 14 after being asked to keep it by a group of "older boys" he was hanging about with at the time.

Blair said he stashed it in the loft "out of the way of his mum" and said the weapon - which was not in working order - stayed there for the next 20 years undisturbed.

Advocate Lili Prais, defending, said the bag, which came from a shop based in Sweden, had a slogan on it which translated as: "We are celebrating 15 years".

Ms Prais added the particular shop opened in 1974 which meant the bag was produced in 1989.

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