Man jailed after guns and bullets found in hidden compartment
A man suspected of storing guns and ammunition for gang members has been jailed after West Midlands Police found firearms behind a secret panel in his Birmingham flat.
Officers raided Ian Robotham’s home in Colemeadow Road, Billesley, in the early hours of 14 November 2017 on the back of community intelligence suggesting he had access to weapons.
An initial search of the flat drew a blank until an eagle-eyed cop spotted a loose panel in an airing cupboard – and discovered it was concealing a sawn-off shotgun, a handgun, a magazine containing four bullets, plus 32 other rounds and shotgun cartridges.
Robotham claimed he’d never seen the firearms before – suggesting an intruder must have placed them in his flat without his knowledge – and that the last time he’d held a gun was as a 14-year-old Army Cadet.
However, forensic experts found the 49-year-old’s DNA on the pistol’s magazine and his fingerprints on bags in which the bullets were found.
He maintained his innocence but on Wednesday (27 March) at Birmingham Crown Court he was found guilty of firearms possession and jailed for seven years.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Ed Costello from West Midlands Police’s Organised Crime & Gangs Unit in Birmingham, said: “We suspect Robotham was holding the guns and bullets for members of a gang – but as he’s found to his cost, simply saying “they’re not mine” is no defence and anyone found with firearms will be jailed.
“His defence that an unknown person gained access to his house and planted the firearms without his knowledge was implausible and the jury saw through it.
“The raid at Robotham’s home followed information supplied by the community. We always take information passed to us seriously and will act swiftly to take weapons off the streets and arrest offenders.”
Ballistics experts examined the seized firearms and confirmed they are not linked to any reported shootings in the UK.
Anyone with information on firearms possession or wider crime in their community is urged to contact West Midlands Police on 101, Live Chat via WMP Online between 8am and midnight, or call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.