Warrant issued in firearm case

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AN arrest warrant has been issued for a man accused of a firearms offence after he failed to turn up at court.

Jonathon Watson, 25, is facing a minimum five-year sentence if he is convicted of buying a prohibited weapon, Durham Crown Court heard.

Watson, of Lawnswood, Houghton, was bailed by magistrates to appear before the crown court yesterday.

Nicholas Rooke, defending, said that since his arrest, Watson had been an in-patient at a hospital for people with mental health difficulties, but had recently been discharged.

Efforts to contact him since had failed, Mr Rooke added.

Judge Christopher Prince issued a warrant for Watson’s arrest, saying: “I think the public will be rightly concerned that a man charged with such a serious offence is not at court when he should be.”