Bestwood residents say they are “relieved” after two men were jailed over a plot to transport a sawn-off shotgun. Nathan Clifford was foiled by police as he tried to conceal the deadly weapon in a bed sheet in Caldbeck Walk, Bestwood Park.
The 34-year-old also had eight cartridges that matched the bore of the weapon as well as a shotgun grip and items needed to make the gun fire. He was stopped on December 30, 2020, with Call of Duty-style footage showing the moment he was caught, with armed cops shouting “stay where you are, do not move, show me your hands, get down on your knees, do it now”.
Clifford, of Caldbeck Walk in Bestwood, has now been jailed for eight years and four months after appearing before Nottingham Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to transfer a prohibited firearm and possession of firearm ammunition when prohibited.
People in in Bestwood told Nottinghamshire Live that it was scary to think about weapons being on the streets of such a “tight knit community”. Derek Lydamore, who has lived on Caldbeck Walk for the past 60 years, knows the area better than most. He said: “I don’t remember it happening, to be honest. You don’t get a lot of trouble round here, nothing like that anyway.
“You did have the shooting here but that was around 10 years ago. There have been no other serious incidents that I can think of.”
Another Bestwood resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s really scary to hear about, that’s for sure. It’s quite a tight knit community around here, most people look out for each other.
“To think of someone carrying a shotgun around is really scary and I’m glad they won’t be coming back, at least for a long time. He’s the kind of person who gives Bestwood a bad name, which is unfair as I think it’s a great place to live – we’ve been here for nearly five years now.”
Meanwhile Keeley Graham, 29, told Nottinghamshire Live: “I’m glad they’re locked up, you don’t want those sort of people living next door to you, do you? People need to realise what these weapons can do, they can tear families apart. It’s really sad that it’s happening, it says something about the times we are in now.”
As Clifford was being cuffed on Caldbeck Walk, a van being driven by Adrian Keeling, 36, arrived in the area but made a hasty retreat upon seeing police activity. Officers gave chase in their squad cars and stopped the vehicle before also arresting Keeling nearby on suspicion of weapons charges. Detectives found the pair had exchanged phone messages organising the handover of the weapon that evening.
Keeling, of HMP Doncaster, was handed a prison sentence of 11 years and eight months after admitting the same charges as Clifford and possession with intent to supply drugs.
Detective Inspector Mark Adas said: “This was an extensive investigation which involved some great investigative work from experts in the region and has resulted in a lethal firearm and two dangerous men being removed from our streets. Telephone evidence provided a clear story surrounding the event on December 30 2020 which involved them arranging handover of the weapon and subsequently reacting to police activity.
“Seizures of this nature protect the public and are an invaluable part of our fight against organised crime. Firearms can be deadly in the wrong hands so I’m very pleased we were able to take this gun out of circulation which would no doubt have been used to further the criminal aims of those commissioning its use.
“Firearms offences are treated extremely seriously by police who remain committed to taking weapons off the streets. Information is vital in doing this and I would urge anyone with information about illegal firearms to contact police immediately on 101, or 999 in an emergency. Your actions could well help save someone’s life.”
To read all the biggest and best stories first sign up to read our newsletters here.