A ‘DOGSBODY’ who gave a sawn-off shotgun to a scrap dealer boss feuding with a rival family has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Leonard Paul Perkins was at his home in Bridgefield Close, Rishton, on June 2 when he received a phone call from his boss Tommy Smith instructing him to go to his scrapyard in Great Harwood and retrieve a bag containing the weapon.

Prosecuting, Charles Brown said Smith, wife Mary and their sons had travelled to a Lonsdale boxing event in Penrith earlier that day but the rival family had turned up. Fearing their rivals were armed the Smiths fled back to their home in Meadow Street, Great Harwood.

It was during that journey that 27-year-old Perkins received the phone call from Smith, leading him to retrieve a bag containing the shotgun, which was 16 inches in length, having been sawn down to form a pistol grip.

Smith, 41, then drove back up to Penrith with Mary but without Perkins. The shotgun was never fired.

Mr Brown said when they returned home the following day the Smiths were pursued by a police helicopter and officers on the ground found the shotgun, concealed in a bag underneath a barbecue.

Mr Brown said: “The prosecution case is that Perkins was the person who knew the whereabouts of the gun, which was owned by Smith, on Smith’s premises. Perkins was an employee of Smith and was used on a number of manual tasks, including the sorting of skips. The prosecution case is that Perkins retrieved that gun from somewhere outside the house, probably from a skip, and supplied it to Smith.”

Perkins, who has 15 previous convictions for 31 offences, pleaded guilty to the transferring of a prohibited firearm. That offence carries a minimum sentence of five years in jail.

Defending, Mark Stuart said imposing the minimum term would be ‘arbitrary and disproportionate’, stating that his client was effectively a dogsbody at the scrapyard who had no idea what he was handing over.

Mr Stuart added: “As far as the defendant was concerned it was a bag he was getting. He wasn’t aware it was a shotgun.

“It was not his gun. He was ordered to pick it up, having been told where it was. It was in his possession for less than seven minutes.”

Judge Jonathan Gibson jailed Perkins for three years and one month.

Smith, 41, pleaded guilty to the possession of a prohibited firearm for his role in the incident and was jailed for five years in November.