What a completely fucked up country we live in, I can’t even summon the words to describe how depressing this is; five years seems a lot given the pathetic sentences you hear being handed out to real criminals.

A former soldier who handed a discarded shotgun in to police faces at least five years imprisonment for “doing his duty”. Paul Clarke, 27, was found guilty of possessing a firearm at Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday – after finding the gun and handing it personally to police officers on March 20 this year.

The jury took 20 minutes to make its conviction, and Mr Clarke now faces a minimum of five year’s imprisonment for handing in the weapon. In a statement read out in court, Mr Clarke said: “I didn’t think for one moment I would be arrested. “I thought it was my duty to hand it in and get it off the streets.”

Prosecuting, Brian Stalk, explained to the jury that possession of a firearm was a “strict liability” charge – therefore Mr Clarke’s allegedly honest intent was irrelevant. Just by having the gun in his possession he was guilty of the charge, and has no defence in law against it, he added. But despite this, Mr Blackman urged members of the jury to consider how they would respond if they found a gun.

He said: “This is a very small case with a very big principle. You could be walking to a railway station on the way to work and find a firearm in a bin in the park. Is it unreasonable to take it to the police station?” Paul Clarke will be sentenced on December 11. Judge Christopher Critchlow said: “This is an unusual case, but in law there is no dispute that Mr Clarke has no defence to this charge. The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant.”

Surely, the intention of somebody possessing a firearm is entirely relevant.