Prison for pair who dug up old shotgun

Court heard shotgun was buried in park
Court heard shotgun was buried in park

Two men caught after digging up a sawn-off shotgun their brother had buried in Strathclyde Park before his death have been sent to prison.

In what resembled a scene from a crime movie, stepbrothers Thomas Craig and Thomas Walsh had sought out a tree which marked the spot where a bag was hidden in the ground.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard they didn’t know what was buried, but hoped it was cash and were shocked to unearth the weapon.

Craig (36), of Raith Drive, and Walsh (40), of Belvidere Crescent, both Bellshill, admitted illegal possession of the gun in June. Craig was jailed for a year while Walsh got nine months.

Defence agent Diarmid Bruce admitted the pair’s explanation about seeking out a tree marked V might seem “fanciful”.

He said they were “curious” to find out what was buried and went to investigate after attending a vigil in the park for a young Bellshill man who had died. They were “shocked” to find a gun. Police spotted them with a shovel and stopped them.

Despite being in a bag, the shotgun was, according to firearms experts, in poor condition and couldn’t be fired.

Mr Bruce, who asked for unpaid work to be imposed, said Craig and Walsh have young families and their records are not the most serious. He added: “The gun had been buried for an awful long time.”

However, Sheriff David Bicket told the pair: “You clearly knew there was something illegal. Possession of a shotgun, fleeting or otherwise, is serious and it was only fleeting possession because police caught you in the act.”