The girlfriend of a dangerous criminal has today been jailed for hiding a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun at her Walthamstow home.
Shereen Lawrence, 32, of Hillcrest Road, was sentenced to five years, along with 34-year-old Sunny Taiwo, of Holt Road in Beckton, at the Inner London Crown Court.
Taiwo, described by police as a dangerous offender, was jailed for 18 years after being convicted of four counts of possession of a prohibited firearm, one count of possession of a firearm without a firearm certificate, three counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and two counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm certificate.
Lawrence was only one of Taiwo's numerous girlfriends who had agreed to hide his illegal guns and bullets.
Police searched Lawrence’s home on November 21 and found a Miroku 600 double-barrelled sawn off shotgun and 84 cartridges in her bedroom cupboard.
A framed picture of Taiwo on her bedside table was spotted by police and he was subsequently arrested and charged.
Leanne Anderson, 27, of Glenarm Road, Hackney, was jailed for five years in February after admitting hiding a 9mm Baikal self loading pistol with a silencer and seven rounds of 9mm ammunition in her kitchen waste bin.
Taiwo was arrested at an address in Mitcham on April 12 after firearms officers executed a search warrant and discovered a loaded 8mm Rohm RG9 self loading pistol under the bed he was laying on with a woman he had just met.
Detective Inspector Steve Meechan of Trident Gang Crime Command has warned wives and girlfriends to avoid becoming embroiled in gun crime.
He said: "Taiwo wrongly believed that by using his female companions to store various firearms he could evade capture, however police were able to connect him to firearms at four addresses.
"By putting their trust in him, two women have received lengthy prison sentences.
"These sentences should act as a deterrent to those involved in gun crime, but also to the girlfriends and wives of men who are involved in the circulation of firearms.
"Through misguided loyalty, not only are you compromising your safety - placing yourself and your family at risk - but you could also face a custodial sentence.
"I urge anyone who finds themselves in this position to contact police or Crimestoppers.
"Trident has years of experience in protecting witnesses and victims and there are measures that can be put in place to protect you."
Detective Chief Inspector Claire Crawley, of Trident Gang Crime Command, added: "As a girlfriend, relative or friend, women and girls are in danger of serious exploitation and coercion to commit crimes such as carrying weapons or drugs.
"Some find themselves in situations as a result of exploitation that they are not even aware of until it is too late."
If you are worried about gun crime, or have information about it, please speak to police or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111 555.