Ipswich builder jailed for keeping drug dealers’ guns

Thomas Potkins, of Wallace Road, Ipswich, who has been jailed for six years for keeping weapons on b

Thomas Potkins, of Wallace Road, Ipswich, who has been jailed for six years for keeping weapons on behalf of drug dealers - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich builder who kept “a small arsenal” of lethal weapons at his family home on behalf of drug dealers has been jailed for six years.

In addition to a loaded shotgun and rifle found in an unlocked box under a double bed and a handgun concealed in a box on top of a display cabinet, Thomas Potkins also had equipment to make ammunition.

Specialist firearms officers who went to his Wallace Road home also found a charged taser stun gun and a silencer, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sentencing Potkins, Judge Rupert Overbury said: “There is in my judgement understandable horror, particularly because of recent events round the world, by members of the public when unlicensed lethal weapons are discovered.

“Every week there is an atrocity committed somewhere in the world by someone using such weapons.”

He said Potkins accepted the revolver, the shotgun and the rifle with its attached silencer were held on behalf of drug dealers.

“Unfortunately we are all too aware of what happens when drug dealers are in possession of any type of weapon - people get hurt and sometimes killed.

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“You were in possession of a small arsenal of weapons, all lethal, all loaded and in working order,” said the judge.

The court heard that specialist firearms officers acting on information went to Potkins’ home on October 26 last year with a search warrant.

During the search they found a number of firearms and related items which were outside the shotgun certificate Potkins had held since 2016, said Andrew Thompson, prosecuting.

He said it was subsequently discovered that the loaded shotgun found at the property had been stolen in July last year and the loaded bolt action rifle had been stolen in April 2013.

Potkins, 33, admitted three offences of possessing a 12 bore calibration Beretta double barrelled shotgun, a 0.17 calibration CZ bolt action rifle and a sound moderator without a firearm certificate, possessing a prohibited firearm, namely a Webley 0.38 revolver, possessing a prohibited weapon, namely a stun gun, and possessing 126 cartridges without a firearm certificate.

Simon Walters, for Potkins, said his client was the father of two young children and genuinely regretted the “stupid” decisions he had made.

He said Potkins had got into debt through his addiction to drugs and had agreed to take custody of the weapons and ammunition while he was in a “desperate situation”.