A SAWN-OFF shotgun seized from a car in New Addington would have gone off immediately once one of its barrels was loaded, a court heard. The right-hand barrel of the weapon was "slam-firing" and would have discharged without the trigger needing pulling, jurors were told. Six men are standing trial at Croydon Crown Court for possessing the lethal weapon seized by Trident police officers on December 10 last year from the back seat of a BMW in a car park in Westcott Close. Opening the case at court today (Monday), prosecutor James Dawes did not say what the men were doing with the gun but said there was no legitimate reason for having one. Edward Ephraim, 30, of Lennard Road, in Croydon, pleaded guilty in April to possessing a firearm over the weapon but has denied possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing ammunition. The five other men next to him in the dock have all denied all those three charges: Aaron Leacock, 26, of Starling Close, Croydon; Tyrone McNeish, 29, of Guinness Trust, Kennington; Jason Pindi, 28, of Hardam House, Tulse Hill; Patrick Otim, 25, of Cudham Drive, New Addington; and Adrian McNeish, 31, of Grove Vale, East Dulwich. Mr Dawes told jurors the case was "straightforward" continuing: "A sawn-off shotgun is an illegal weapon. "There is no legitimate use for a sawn-off shotgun other than the commission of crime, you may think, and that is why it is illegal, they are extremely dangerous items." He added: "Just think in your mind why you would be in possession of a sawn-off shotgun and why you would take the risk of having it in a public place." "There are not that many uses you can put that gun to, certainly none of them are legal uses. The most obvious is robbery but it also might be to go out and shoot somebody." Mr Dawes told jurors armed police intervened after watching the BMW and a Fiesta acting "with apparently common purpose" around the estate for about an hour before seeing a third car approach in Westcott Close and Mr Ephraim walking over and putting a jacket in the boot of the BMW. Otim was driving the BMW accompanied by Tyrone McNeish, while Pindi was driving the Fiesta accompanied by Leacock and Adrian McNeish, jurors were told. Mr Dawes said Pindi, Leacock and Tyrone McNeish were arrested immediately while Otim, Ephraim and Adrian McNeish tried to flee. Otim was caught by the tram tracks nearby and Ephraim within the car park, while Adrian McNeish was not caught until May this year. Mr Dawes added Adrian McNeish had tossed away bullets while fleeing, and that plastic gloves were also found inside the car. Mobile phone evidence suggested the men had communicated earlier that day near Starling Close, while the men in the Fiesta and the BMW were also talking to each other, the court heard. Mr Dawes added to jurors: "Now you may think these defendants were not just in that car park at random. "It was not a random meeting, this was a planned meeting and the purpose of that meeting revolved around that sawn-off shotgun." The trial continues.
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