'We always act on intelligence' say police after Hartlepool fundraiser's guns and drugs conviction

Police have vowed to continue investigating firearms concerns from the public following a veteran fundraiser’s conviction for possessing guns, drugs and bootleg cigarettes.

By Newsroom
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 3:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 3:13 pm

Hartlepool pensioner Rod Jones was spared an immediate jail term after a court was told that he is terminally ill from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and has less than a year to live.

He was arrested after a raid on his storage unit in Stockton on July 1, 2019, when customs officers discovered a 9mm Heckler and Koch pistol, two shotguns, ammunition, £26,000 in cash and 45,000 cigarettes and rolling tobacco.

In his home and car they discovered skunk cannabis and cannabis resin plus a .410 double barrel shotgun and gun parts in his bedroom.

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Rod Jones. Picture by FRANK REID.

Temporary Detective Sergeant Jayne Bryan, of Cleveland Police, said after Jones was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court last week: “Firearms offences pose huge risk to our communities and this is reflected in the penalties available to the court.“We always act on intelligence or concerns regarding firearms given the potential for harm and the link to serious offending.”

The court heard that a doctor appointed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had examined Jones and agreed with defence medical reports. Jones, 74, of Pine Grove, who had undertaken mercy missions to Romania for 30 years, was sentenced to two years jail suspended for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to possession of a self-loading rifle, a sawn off shotgun, gun parts and ammunition, possession when prohibited by a previous conviction, two offences of possession with intent to supply cannabis and fraudulent evasion of duty on tobacco products.

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