Siege man admits gun charges

Armed police spent all night at a siege on Norbreck Road in Norbreck following reports that an armed man had threatened a neighbour with a shotgun.
Armed police spent all night at a siege on Norbreck Road in Norbreck following reports that an armed man had threatened a neighbour with a shotgun.
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A man who was arrested after a nine-hour stand-off with armed police has admitted a string of weapons offences.

Mark Saunders, 40, is facing a jail sentence after admitting possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

He was arrested by police following a dramatic armed siege at a block of flats on Norbreck Road, where he lives.

Specialist firearms officers closed off the street during the incident, in September last year, after being called to reports a gun had been fired.

During his appearance at Preston Crown Court yesterday, Saunders pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life, having a firearm with intent, making a threat to kill and assault by beating.

A previous court hearing was told the 40-year-old fired a shot through the door of a flat following a dispute between neighbours at the property, close to the junction with Queen’s Promenade.

The siege started after police were called at around 11.30pm on September 18 following reports a man was holed up with a gun.

The stand-off ended at around 8.30am on September 19 when Saunders gave himself up voluntarily to officers.

The dramatic scenes sent shockwaves through the neighbourhood, with residents saying they had “never seen anything like it”.

Witnesses reported seeing police surround the property before cordoning off the area and evacuating the surrounding flats.

Neighbour David Shelton, 69, said at the time: “I didn’t hear shouting or screaming, just that big bang. Then police started arriving.

“There were police all around the property. It was scary.”

Saunders was remanded in custody by Judge Anthony Russell. He will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on March 5.