Firearms sentencing should be deterrent to others

A police officer in Sheffield has made a direct plea to young men in the city, warning about the consequences of getting involved in gang-related criminality.

PC Steve Hemsley has warned young men not to ‘have your head turned by greed’ following the sentencing of 19-year-old Rodney Bruce.

Bruce, of Otley Walk, was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of a firearm.

On 3 May, officers from Sheffield Proactive CID carried out a warrant at Bruce’s home in Walkley.

When they arrived, Bruce tried to prevent officers from entering the house and was swiftly arrested.

Searches of his bedroom revealed a handgun and ammunition in a man bag and a large amount of crack cocaine, which had a street value of almost £10,000.

Bruce was charged and remanded into custody on 4 May. He was sentenced last Thursday (4 July).

PC Steve Hemsley, who led the investigation, said: “I want to make a direct appeal to young men in this city, who may be thinking of entering the criminal world that Rodney Bruce did. Don’t have your head turned by greed and the money that you think you can make, it’s not what it seems and there are serious consequences.

“Bruce was tempted by the lifestyle, designer clothes and the cash but he has paid the price, he’s serving a lengthy prison sentence for the part he played in organised crime in Sheffield.

“He had, on the surface, a decent, law-abiding lifestyle. He went to college, he had a stable upbringing with positive role models, he was good at football and he went to church. He thought all of this meant he could go about his criminal activity undetected.

“Bruce had every opportunity for a bright future, but he made poor decisions, which have resulted in six years behind bars.

“I would like what has happened to Bruce to act as a deterrent to others who are thinking about getting involved with gang-related activity. It is not a glamourous world, it is dangerous; there are guns and knives, and you will be exposed to constant threats of violence.

“This is Bruce’s first conviction. There are no second chances in this type of offending. In normal circumstances the minimum sentence for the possession of an unlawful firearm is five years.”

He added: “Think about those around you and the impact your actions have on them, and most importantly think about your future, getting involved with organised crime will change it forever.”

District Commander for Sheffield, Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton said: “This story is sad for many reasons and there are no real winners, a family have lost a son who won’t be around for many years. A prison sentence has an impact on everybody.

“I’d urge people reading this, who might be in a similar situation to Rodney, need to think about the consequences of their actions.”

Anyone who has any information about gang-related criminality should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you are involved in this type of criminality in South Yorkshire and you need our help, contact 101.


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