A 22-YEAR-OLD Dudley man found to have a loaded firearm when police called at his Dudley home has been jailed for five years.

The 11mm French made pistol had been hidden under floorboards in his bedroom by Jack Nicholls, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The officers went to the house in Bluebell Road on an unrelated matter and they became suspicious when Nicholls took nearly five minutes to get to the front door which he closed behind him.

They then searched the address and after discovering a loose floorboard one of the officers found a bag containing

three knives and the loaded firearm.

Two modified rounds of ammunition were also recovered, said Harinderpal Dhami, prosecuting, along with a spent bullet which suggested the gun had been fired.

He stressed to the court there was no suggestion the weapon had been linked to any outstanding crime

Nicholls admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and Judge Simon Ward ruled he had to serve a substantial

prison sentence for the offence

David Swinnerton, defending, maintained Nicholls had been looking after the lethal weapon for someone he knew but he was "too frightened" to identify the man.