Birmingham gunman Ricardo Cousins jailed for nine years

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Police found a loaded pistol stashed in his car during a chase through Handsworth in Birmingham

Police pursued Ricardo Cousins as he drove erratically on Handsworth Wood Road in Birmingham.

The 33 year-old failed to stop for officers and instead drove off at speed. Police later found him in his Skoda Fabia parked in nearby Antrobus Road in Handsworth. Initially they spoke with Cousins about his dangerous driving - but when officers scanned the scene they uncovered a pistol, which was loaded with five rounds of ammunition, in a bag under the car.

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Cousins was arrested on Monday, 14 February, 2022 and subsequently charged with possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and for dangerous driving. Detective Inspector Matt Underwood, from Birmingham CID at West Midlands Police said: “Ricardo Cousins was brazenly driving around Birmingham during the day while in possession of a loaded gun. Fortunately, our officers were alert to his careless driving and gave chase after he failed to stop for us.

“We stopped him before he could cause serious harm but his offence was no less grievous. Guns are lethal weapons, which as well as having the potential to kill and seriously maim, cause fear and alarm among the community. We won’t put up with people carrying firearms illegally and the sentence Cousins received shows that there will be serious consequence for those who do.”

Just days after Cousins’ sentencing, police launched Operation Target, a major new operation to target serious and organised crime across the West Midlands, from drug dealing and burglary, to cyber-crime and fraud.

Firearms offences such as the one committed by Ricardo Cousins are also within the scope of Operation Target, which will span the West Midlands region and will see officers working alongside other forces and the Regional Organised Crime Unit. A WMP spokesperson added: “We’ll be focusing our expertise and resources on disrupting those involved in serious and organised crime, and bringing offenders to justice.”