A MAN who led police on a chase through the streets of Southend because he was in possession of stolen firearms has pleaded guilty at court.
Mark Box, 29, of no fixed address, admitted receiving the stolen firearms, possessing firearms without a licence and possessing shotguns without a certificate.
He also admitted driving dangerously through the streets of Southend on May 13 while he tried to escape from police, and driving while disqualified.
Box drove off in a Volkswagen van after officers came calling when 83 guns worth £10,000 were stolen from the back of a lorry in Basildon.
His van hit a police car in Blenheim Chase, Leigh, just before 11am.
The vehicle failed to stop at the scene and was later discovered near a hotel in Eastern Esplanade, Southend.
Box was eventually arrested after a county-wide manhunt.
He appeared at Basildon Crown Court alongside Jason Balding, 33, of Nicholson Crescent, Benfleet, who also admitted receiving the stolen firearms, possessing firearms without a licence and possessing shotguns without a certificate.
Also appearing were Daniel Harris, 33, of Godman Road, Chadwell St Mary; Ashley Henry, 27, of no fixed address; Ryan Heapy, 24, of Hobart Road, Tilbury, and Matthew Wells, 28, of Godman Road, Chadwell St Mary.
All four admitted stealing firearms between April 18 and April 20 and possessing firearms without a licence and possessing shotguns without a certificate on the same date.
The firearms were stolen from the back of a lorry as it was parked overnight in Swinbourne Road, on the Burnt Mills Industrial Estate, on April 18 while its driver stopped for a rest.
He was driving the cargo from Devon to France, but was first making pick-ups in the east.
Officers have now recovered the majority of the 24 shotguns and 59 rifles – intended to be used for sports such as clay pigeon shooting.
Two other men – Eric Rudanec, 52, of Southchurch Avenue, Southend, and Marcus Ireson, 28, from Grays – denied receiving the stolen firearms, possessing shotguns without a certificate and possessing firearms without a licence.
They will stand trial on November 24.
The other defendants will be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court once Rudanec and Ireson’s trial has concluded.