Bromley hoarder jailed after revolver and gold bars seized

A hoarder from Bromley has been jailed for five years after handguns, ammo, gold bullions and a haul of cash were discovered at his home.

It was traces of DNA on a discarded coffee cup in a cannabis factory near Dartford which led to Michael Naughton’s downfall.

Among the items seized by police in his Bromley house were a ‘Dirty Harry’ type gun which he claimed he just hoarded the items, but Kent Police described it, and other weapons found, as ‘fully functioning lethal weapons.’

The investigation into Naughton started in July 2020 when Kent Police patrols detected a cultivation of 200 cannabis plants at a site near Lombart Street in Dartford.

Crime scene investigators then took samples from a coffee cup lid and two cigarette butts which led to the recovery of DNA which matched the 54-year-old.

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Detective Constable Chris Relf of West Kent CID said that whilst there was insufficient evidence to convict Naughton o any offences linked to the cannabis factory, his DNA “clearly showed us he had been in the same room as the plants.”

This gave officers ‘reasonable grounds’ to execute a search warrant at his home address in Wrenthorpe Road, Bromley.

Inside, on November 30, Naughton led officers to a wardrobe where he kept a stash of six gold bullion bars and a haul of cash.

As he was showing where the possessions had been stored, he was seen to try and push something to the back of the wardrobe.

Further searches revealed Naughton had been attempting to conceal a revolver, which was hidden behind some clothing.

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Several rounds of ammunition, compatible with the gun, were found contained in a bag and nearby chest of drawers. A second firearm was located in the kitchen.

More than £21,000 in cash was also recovered from the property, which along with the gold was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

During police interview Naughton claimed the firearms had come into his possession after working on house clearances more than 15 years ago, adding he kept the weapons because he ‘thought they were interesting’.

He insisted the money and gold were his and a result of an inheritance and life savings.

Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court, Naughton pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a firearm and a charge of possessing ammunition without a certificate.

Two further counts of possessing criminal property were ordered by the court to remain on file. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment on 19 February 2021.

Detective Constable Chris Relf added: “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.

“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.”

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