Published: 13:14, 03 March 2021
| Updated: 09:28, 04 March 2021
Police raided a house in Bromley and discovered a 'Dirty Harry' type weapon and live ammunition in a wardrobe.
Hoarder Michael Naughton claimed he found the .44 Magnum - made famous by Clint Eastwood in the hit detective films films - in a house clearance and decided to keep it.
But a judge heard that in November last year police officers also found £20,000 and gold bars at the property in Wrenthorpe Road.
The 53-year-old claimed he just hoarded items - which also included a German First World War semi-automatic Luger, which couldn't be fired without replacement parts.
But Recorder Ed Burge QC told him: "Police found a Smith and Wesson .44 calibre Magnum revolver in your wardrobe. It was no more than 30 years-old, was in very good condition and in full working order.
"In a chest of drawers, there were 41 'live' rounds of .44 ammunition. Your motivation in having the weapons appears to be a mystery.
"I do not believe your explanation in finding the weapons and ammunition in separate house clearances and an MOD depot, it stretches credibility too far."
Jailing him for five years, the judge told said rejected Naughton's claim that hadn't realised how serious it was to possess the weapons.
"Whether your possession is in some way connected to the £20,000 in cash and gold bars, is something I cannot say. But you had those items in your house for some purpose and you knew it was illegal."
The judge added that the Magnum weapon was stored insecurely, adding: "The risk of your house being burgled and a burglar finding the hand gun and matching ammunition is considerable.
"Had the gun been stolen it would have entered into the criminal world, and could have been used to devastating effect."
Naughton admitted two charges of possessing firearms and one of having ammunition.
The judge also ordered the weapons and ammunition to be destroyed.
Prosecutor Craig Evans told Maidstone Crown Court how police raided the house as part of another investigation which resulted in no charges.
He added that police forensic experts examined the Luger, which was rusted and in poor condition, however were able to fire successfully with replacement parts.
Ben Irwin, defending, said it was more than 100 years-old and something he considered a decorative item.
"But he accepts that it could have fallen into the wrong hands and could have been changed and made into a fully functioning firearm."
Mr Irwin said Naughton's sister describes him as "a gentle giant with a heart of gold" and is not a dangerous man.
"He is a man who sought out items to sell to make money in house clearances.
"He sees himself as a victim of his own stupidity and had no idea how seriously British courts take the (illegal) possession of firearms.
"These were no items held by him with criminal intent, not held by him with any malice.
"But he accepts that had there been a burglary they could have fallen into the hands of criminals and could have resulted in absolutely terrible devastating or fatal consequences, " he added.
Detective constable Chris Relf of West Kent CID said: "Kent Police is committed to tackling serious and organised crime and ensuring illegally-held firearms are removed from the streets and destroyed, so they cannot be used to commit other offences or cause fear of violence.
"Whilst there was insufficient evidence to convict Naughton of any offences linked to the cannabis cultivation, his DNA clearly showed he had been in the same room where the plants were found.
"This gave us reasonable grounds to execute a search warrant at his home.
"One of the firearms we found was fully functioning, while the second handgun would have only needed a few replacement parts to ensure it could also be used a lethal weapon."