Detectives investigating the murder of a takeaway boss have found a gun they claim is linked to the case.
Father-of-two Tipu Sultan was gunned down outside of his family run shop Herbs and Spice at Lake Avenue in South Shields.
The killing of the 32-year-old, from Sunderland, happened outside his business at around ten pm on April 7.
Michael McDougall, 47, of Hylton Avenue, Michael Mullen, 24, of Hawthorne Avenue, both South Shields, are both accused of his murder.
The pair appeared at Newcastle Crown Court, via video link to HMP Durham, where they were not asked to enter pleas.
During the short hearing prosecutor Richard Wright made the revelation about the sawn-off shotgun being found.
Mr Wright said: “ A firearm has been recovered, a firearm the crown say can be linked to both McDougall and Mullen.”
The court heard the weapon will undergo scientific testing.
Mullen faces a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice as well as the murder accusation.
A third man, Shaun Duke, 23, of Souter View, Whitburn, is charged with perverting the course of justice in relation to the case.
He also appeared at the hearing via video link.
None of the men were asked to enter any pleas in relation to any of the charges.
Judge Paul Sloan QC told them: “I adjourn your cases now for a further pre trial hearing listed on November 3.
“In the meantime, you are all remanded in custody.
A trial date has been set for February 23, which could take three weeks.