Carer jailed after guns and ammo found in ottoman at end of bed

Guns were found within a box stored in an ottoman 

Kim Ames was jailed after the guns were discovered in an ottoman - Credit: NCA

An Essex carer has been jailed after police discovered two guns and a round of ammunition stored in an ottoman at the end of a bed in her home. 

Officers from the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) raided the Colchester home of Kim Ames, 62, on February 25 this year, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

A search dog indicated to officers about a ottoman at the foot of the bed in the master bedroom at the home in Broom Way, Lori Tucker, prosecuting, told the court. 

An officer removed two bin bags from on top of the ottoman and found a wooden box which contained two Browning 9mm self-loading pistols and 48 bullets, Ms Tucker said. 

One of the handguns was loaded with a magazine, while the ammunition was found to be suitable for both weapons, the court heard. 

Police seized the firearms and ammunition and attempts had been made to remove the serial numbers. 

Ames was arrested and told police in interview that she was asked to look after the items by someone she knew vaguely. 

She said she did not know what was in the box, and had not looked but believed it to be papers relating to the person's deceased mother. 

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The court heard that Ames received a phone call two days before the raid and was told someone would be along to pick the items up the next day but that never happened. 

Ames, who had no previous convictions, previously pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a prohibited firearm and a further count of possessing ammunition without a firearms certificate. 

She pleaded guilty on the basis that she did not know what was inside the box. 

Ames' partner, Lance Ames, 64, was also initially charged with the same offences and an additional count of obstructing a police officer. 

However, he pleaded not guilty to all charges at the plea and trial preparation hearing and those pleas were accepted by prosecutors. 

John Livingston, for Ames, said his client previously worked as a carer and had "led a law-abiding life" and served her community. 

Sentencing Ames on Wednesday, Judge David Pugh jailed her for a total of 18 months and ordered the destruction and forfeiture of the firearms and ammunition. 

However, having been remanded in custody since February, the judge said it was likely she would be released immediately.