A DRUG dealer who kept an AK47 rifle at home has been jailed for 11 years.

David Williamson, 28, of Howards Mead, Pennington, was found guilty of possessing the firearm and its ammunition following an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary’s Operation Fortress team.

He was also found guilty of being concerned in the supply of a class A drug and was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court to four years for the firearms offences and a further seven years for the supply offences to run consecutively.

Detective Inspector Jason Attwell from the Operation Fortress team said: “While there is nothing to indicate that this weapon has been used in a recent crime, it is by definition designed to do one thing and its proximity to ammunition enhances its potentially lethal consequences.

"Firearms are often used by organised drugs groups to cause fear of violence as well as to kill and injure. The possession of this weapon in these circumstances posed a significant risk to the public.

“I’m pleased to say therefore that this firearm and its ammunition, all of which are prohibited by law, have now been taken off our streets and will be destroyed.

“David Williamson’s conviction and the recovery of this lethal weapon and evidence of related drug supply is the result of excellent local policing and the Operation Fortress investigation team working together.

“It sends a clear message that we’re taking a pro-active approach to making Hampshire and the Isle of Wight hostile places for anyone thinking of coming here to deal drugs and harm or intimidate others.

“Operation Fortress is the campaign to reduce the harm of drug-related violence which we know can have a devastating impact on communities. We’re working together with our partner agencies and local neighbourhoods to help rebuild them free from the fear of crime.

“You can help too by telling us in confidence if you’re concerned about drug-related crime where you live. The more we know, the more we can do about it.”

Anyone with information can contact the police in confidence on 101 or email operation.fortress@hampshire.pnn.police.uk.

If you don’t want to speak with the police directly, you can call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

In an emergency, always call 999.