A gunman will be spending the next eight years behind bars after West Midlands Police caught him during early morning patrols in Birmingham – and found a pistol in his car loaded with live rounds.
Officers spotted a Honda Civic being driven at speed in Icknield Street, Hockley, at around 3 am on 7 January and moved in to make an arrest after watching it jump two red lights.
Driver Matthew Coke – who was drunk behind the wheel – pulled over in Hannafore Road, Edgbaston, but ran off on realising it was police officers in an unmarked car.
The 42-year-old was quickly chased down – and when the officers searched Coke’s car, they discovered a silver handgun loaded with five bullets stashed under the front passenger seat.
Coke, from Selwyn Road in Edgbaston, denied knowing the handgun was in the car and refused to answer any further police questions.
He was charged with firearms offences and drink driving and at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (1 July) was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of gun possession.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Thomas Oppenkowski, said:
“Plain clothes officers were patrolling on the look-out for known offenders when they spotted Coke driving erratically.
“This was a great arrest and, following the discovery of a loaded gun, one that may well have saved lives.
“The handgun was test fired and shown to be a viable firearm – and examination by ballistic experts has shown that it’s been linked to crime in other parts of the country.
“Anyone found in possession of an illegal firearm – even if they are just storing it out of misplaced loyalty to a friend or partner and have no intention of using it – can expect to spend several years in prison.”