A gun seized by armed police after a shooting in Merseyside has been described as “the most criminally used firearm in Britain”.
The Beretta 9000S self-loading pistol has been used in 19 shootings in the past seven years, lawyers prosecuting a case in Liverpool revealed.
Earlier this year, another court heard the gun was linked to more firearms incidents than any other known weapon in the UK.
The gun was found during a raid by officers investigating an incident in Kirkby in which a gunman fired at a vehicle in a suspected targeted attack.
It was stashed behind boxed off pipes in a bathroom at the home of 24-year-old Adam Bigley.
There is no evidence the weapon was used in the Kirkby shooting.
Bigley admitted possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition without a firearm certificate and was jailed for six years and nine months on Thursday.
His DNA, along with that of at least three others, was found on the safety catch of the weapon.
A magazine was attached - containing four factory-loaded 9mm live rounds - and the serial number had been erased.
Andrew Alty, defending, cautioned that Bigley was being sentenced for his possession of the gun and not for its historical use.
“That is nothing to do with him,” he said.
“Both his parents were spoken to, he lives in their house, and both said they suspected he came back with it the day before because he came back with a bag. His intention was to hand the weapon back to the person who originally gave it to him. He only had possession of it for one day.”
Judge Norman Wright said gun crime in Liverpool was extremely concerning.
“It is disquieting to know that this particular firearm had been used on 19 previous occasions,” he said.
“You of course will know that firearms, particularly pistols of this sort, are extremely highly valued in criminal organisations.
“They are not something that is just freely passed around. Being so valuable, only extremely trusted people are asked to mind or hold these sort of weapons. The conclusion I draw in this case is you were someone who was highly trusted by the owners or principal users of this firearm; that is why it was given to you.”
Speaking after the sentencing, DI Elaine Coulter said she hoped the sentence sent a message that “possessing firearms of any type carries huge risks and is simply not worth it.”