Four men have been jailed after the discovery of a home-made prohibited weapon in a car stopped at gunpoint by police in Rhyl.

The pistol which could fire 12 bore cartridges had just been brought from Liverpool to North Wales.

But their car was stopped within a short time of leaving a flat in Rhyl.

Merseyside officers acting on intelligence forced the car to stop and then handed them over to North Wales Police.

The four were due to go on trial on a charge of conspiring to inflict GBH but that charge was dropped at Mold Crown Court.

Kyle Evitt and Jake Thomas Kiernan admitted possessing a 12 bore home-made pistol.

Evitt, 29, of High Street in Rhyl, was jailed for five years and eight months  and Kiernan, 25, of Brickfield Park in Rhyl, received a five year sentence.

Two other men – Paul Lewis and Perry Jones – admitted two charges of assisting  Evitt and Kiernan by concealing the weapon to try and impede their apprehension.

Lewis, 40, of Meliden Road in Prestayn, was jailed for 28 months and Jones, 22, of Balmoral Grove in Rhyl, for 30 months.

Judge Niclas Parry said that there was a growing and real concern about the increase in the gravity of criminality in North Wales which including numerous killings and serious injury over the last 12 months, which had involved weapons.

But one of the features that distinguished North Wales from many parts of the country was the lack of so-called gun crime, to exact revenge or to protect turf territories, he said.

“The public will look to the police and the courts to ensure that situation continues,” he said.

The possession of firearms was generally recognised as a grave source of danger to society.

Judge Parry said that in the present case Evitt had been attacked and hospitalised, and then the other three to varying degrees set about obtaining a firearm, a home made one capable of discharging 12 bore cartridges, and five rounds.

Kiernan was driven by Lewis to Liverpool with Jones present no doubt for additional protection if it was required, the judge said.

They acquired the weapon, brought it back to North Wales and Evitt accepted it.

“I sentence you on the basis that the weapon was acquired not for the purpose of carrying out an attack but it would be available for use were there to be further retribution or revenge sought upon you,” the  judge told Evitt.

Evitt directed the others where to hide the weapon, he said.

He and Kiernan were both subject to a prescribed minimum sentence of five years.

The case was aggravated by the fact that each of them to varying degrees had lived criminal life-styles.

The nature of the weapon seriously aggravated the case but it was never produced and no thanks to them the weapon was in their possession for a very short time.

And he took into account that the catalyst was an attack upon Evitt who suffered a serious hand injury.

Prosecuting barrister Karl Scholz said that Merseyside police acting on intelligence stopped the defendants’ car at Rhyl on April 24.

The gun had been delivered to Evitt’s flat and it was hidden in a bin before being driven away – when the car was stopped.

The defendants were removed from the car at gun point and a key was found to a bungalow in meliden Road, Prestatyn, which contained 52  cannabis plants with a potential yield of £18,000.

Kiernan and Evitt – said to have been responsible for the sophisticated cannabis set-up, received ten months consecutive after they admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

That made a total of five years and ten months for Kiernan and six years and eight months for Evitt.

Lewis, who admitted a charge of being concerned in the production of cannabis on the basis that he was a gardener, received no separate penalty.