A MAN fired a homemade shotgun in broad daylight in the middle of a field in Radcliffe in what was thought to have been a dispute between rival groups.
Lewis Whitbread, 24, was described by a judge as “dangerous” as he was sentenced on Friday after being found guilty by a jury of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Manchester Crown Court heard how on the sunny bank holiday weekend afternoon of Saturday, May 30, 2020, Whitbread fired a homemade shotgun – known as a “slamgun” – after carrying it in a towel onto Redbank playing fields.
Video footage filmed on a mobile phone shows the moment Whitbread fired the gun towards – what detectives believe to be – a rival group on the park, as families sunbathed and children played nearby on the field.
He did not injure anyone but caused distress and panic for many who were present.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) received a number of calls from the public about the incident and detectives from Bury CID began to investigate a complex inquiry to identify the gunman and to prove his involvement in the incident.
Investigators compiled a compelling case against Whitbread thanks to witnesses, CCTV trawls, and forensic analysis that – when presented to court over a four-day trial – saw a jury find him guilty on Friday.
Whitbread, of Grosvenor Street, Radcliffe was sentenced later that day to six years in prison and has been handed a further three years on license when he is released as he was described as a “dangerous” offender.
Detective Inspector Andy Wright, of GMP Bury’s CID, said: “The rash recklessness demonstrated by Lewis Whitbread was as ridiculous as it was dangerous and it’s important that he now has to serve a number of years behind bars for what he did that day.
“It’s fortunate that nobody – including Whitbread himself – didn’t suffer any physical injuries as a result of his actions, but that doesn’t diminish the impact it had on those who were there or who heard the gunshot as it was no doubt a distressing and fearful incident.
“Crime involving guns is one our top priorities and we continue to work with great intent to ensure that the use of firearms on the streets of Bury is as low as possible.
“We work tirelessly to prevent such incidents occurring, but are committed in that when they do occur we will do all we can to identify and bring to justice those responsible.”
GMP takes reports of gun crime extremely seriously and encourages people to report anything concerning or suspicious to us online, if able, or via 101.
Always dial 999 in an emergency.
Information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.