If I found a sawn off shotgun in my garden, I'd call 999 straight away, not touch it and wait for the boys in blue go come and take it away. I'm guessing 2 nice boys in blue would knock on my door and I'd escort them to the garden, they'd take it away and thank me for reporting it.
It strikes me I might be nieve here so here's the scenario Paul Clarke may have thought of: I call the police and report a sawn off shotgun has appeard in my garden. Two van loads of armed police in riot gear break down my door at 2am, handcuff me while naked having dragged from bed and roughed me up a bit. I protest and fight back, so they shoot me.
Perhaps I can see why Paul Clarke preferred to present it to a senior officer.
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3 hours ago