AN East Lancashire drug dealer has been jailed for three years four months today for possessing three shotguns — for just six minutes.

Simon Day, 42, of Walmsley Road, Rishton, had been offered the shotguns – stolen from a house in Brindle – because word had gone out in the criminal underworld that he was a wanted man.

Preston Crown Court heard that Day needed protection because an unnamed serial armed robber, serving 10 years for an incident in which a security guard had been shot, had been labelled a 'police insider' – and blamed Day for the rumour.

Day was out on licence at the time of the incident in September 2010, having been jailed in 2005 for setting up a £100,000 drug deal involving 20,000 ecstasy tablets.

His associate, Shahid Farid, 33, had got hold of the shotguns from a contact who had committed the Brindle burglary days earlier.

Farid invited Day to his house to see them.

But Day took just six minutes to brand them 'unsuitable' for his own protection needs and gave them back.

Police had been watching as part of an ongoing investigation and swooped with an armed response team who arrested both men.

Farid, a father-of-two, from Zion Road, Blackburn, was also found with £6,000 of cocaine.

He was jailed for a total of five years.

His barrister Timothy Ashmole said: “Farid does not want to be seen as a professional facilitator of firearms.”

Recorder Paul Lawton said to Farid: “Your intention was to supply someone with illegal weapons knowing they would be used on another human being.”

Addressing Day the judge said he was prepared 'not to be cynical' over the reasons he wanted weapons, and added: “Through your criminal background you found yourself in a position where you needed a firearm.

Nathaniel Rudolf, for Day, argued his client had managed to run a legitimate business as a car trader and had only had the guns in his possession for six minutes, his motive being 'for the preservation of life'.