A NEWPORT drug dealer who was caught with a sawn-off shotgun in a cupboard at his house has been jailed for more than six years.

John Mahon, 42, of Hereford Court, Caerleon, claimed he found the gun buried beneath a tree and took it home as he was worried for his safety when men from Liverpool visited weekly to collect money for a drug debt.

Last month, Mahon pleaded guilty to possessing an altered firearm without a certificate on January 29 this year and being concerned in the supply of diamorphine between November 1, 2013, and January 30 this year.

At his sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday, for which Mahon appeared via video link, prosecutor David Pugh told the court that on January 29 police found the double-barrelled shotgun, which had been shortened to 18-and-a-half inches, in a boiler cupboard at Mahon’s house.

They also found a pipe which had been used to smoke heroin and 42g of powder which proved to be caffeine and paracetamol, a cutting agent for diamorphine costing £700 per kilo.

Under a carpet they found a dealer’s list.

“He used heroin and supplied heroin to others to fund his habit and to repay old drug debts,” said Mr Pugh.

Georgina Buckley, mitigating, said Mahon, who abstained from drugs for ten years but relapsed two years ago, had a “significant addiction” but had used his time on remand wisely and had joined a drug intervention programme.

He made full admissions to the police at the scene and during interview and there was no evidence he had fired the weapon.

Judge Neil Bidder said the only purpose for shortening a gun is for “easier concealment” and said Mahon had a history of carrying weapons.

“You are a particularly dangerous offender,” he said. “This was not an unprofessional or unsophisticated operation.”

Judge Bidder sentenced Mahon to 40 months in prison for each offence to be served consecutively, amounting to six years and eight months of which he must serve half.