Hackney teenager caught with loaded gun and clown mask on train

The clown mask with Woods DNA

The clown mask, containing Woods' DNA, discovered in his bag

A Hackney teenager caught carrying a loaded gun and a clown mask on a train in Kent has been jailed for three years following a British Transport Police (BTP) investigation.

Mitchell Woods (17), of Thrasher Close, Haggerston, East London, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday 9 May after pleading guilty to possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without a certificate.

Detective Constable Bob Gee, the investigating officer, said: “Woods was arrested by a Kent Police Armed Response unit at Higham rail station in the early hours of 29 January this year.

“Officers were called to the station by a concerned member of the public, who, while waiting for a train at Chatham, overheard Woods talking to some friends about carrying a gun.

The 38 year-old man followed Woods into the waiting room at Chatham before having a conversation in which he asked him if he was carrying a gun, a question which Woods answered by pulling the gun from his bag while wearing a sock on his hand.

The semi-automatic pistol discovered in Woods bag

The semi-automatic pistol discovered in Woods' bag

Woods then handed the gun to the man before telling him it was loaded, at which point the man immediately handed it back.

Having left the waiting room, the man immediately dialled 999. Armed Response units from Kent Police were deployed and boarded the train, which had been stopped at Higham.

The member of the public, who had travelled in the same carriage as Woods on the train, pointed him out to officers and he was promptly arrested.

The gun was removed from the bag and was found to contain a round loaded into the chamber. It was then made safe by the Armed Response officers. A clown mask was also discovered in the bag, which was later found to contain traces of Woods’ DNA.

Mitchell Woods, 17

Mitchell Woods (17), of Thrasher Close, Haggerston

The National Ballistics Intelligence Service reported that the gun had been previously used in three gang-related shootings in London, one in which someone had been shot three times with the weapon.

On behalf of the court, Judge Michael Carroll thanked and commended the member of the public for his actions and directed that he receive £350 from the High Sheriff’s Fund by way of a reward.

DC Gee added: “While weapons-related crime is rare on the railway, we have been focusing for some time on reducing the carriage of weapons on the network.

“The member of the public showed incredible bravery in the face of what must have been a very frightening and intimidating situation and was deservedly commended by the court for his actions.

“I hope the three-year jail sentence handed down to Woods sends out the clearest possible message that the consequences for those who are found to have live or imitation weapons on the railway are severe.”

To report someone carrying a weapon on the railway call British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In an emergency always dial 999.