Sentencing Council: Publication of Sentencing guideline for importation of firearms offences

24 November 2021

The Sentencing Council has today published, in accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, a new definitive guideline to be used by the Crown Court and magistrates’ courts in England and Wales when sentencing importation of firearms offences. The new guideline will come into effect on 1 January 2022.

The guideline covers importation of firearms and ammunition contrary to two offences under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979: sections 50 (improper importation of goods) and 170 (fraudulent evasion of prohibition / restriction). It will be added to a suite of eight existing guidelines for other firearms offences that came into force on 1 January 2021.

The guideline was developed following requests from the National Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service, and feedback from judges, asking the Council to develop a specific guideline for unlawful importation of firearms offences. The new guideline will enable courts to take a consistent approach to sentencing offences they do not routinely see.

The new guideline is available on the Sentencing Council website here. Alongside the guideline, we have also published a response to the consultation and other related documents.