A MAN who delivered a gun to a drug dealer has been handed a lengthy prison sentence for his part in an “extremely distressing” ambush.

Leigh Peppiatt, of Corrine Close, Reading, will serve 14 years behind bars after handing a gun to a “drug-dealer” who shot at a car driver seven times in October 2019.

A court heard how Peppiatt drove the weapon to Joseph Waters on Southampton Street, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for attempted murder last month.

Two other accomplices -- Sahit Shehu and Cleon Douglin -- were handed jail terms of five years and 14 years respectively at the same hearing.

READ MORE: Gunman sentenced to more than two decades in jail for attempted murder

Together, the four men will serve a combined sentence of 57 years.

What happened?

Shortly after midnight on October 16, 2019, Sahit Shehu, of Bunces Lane in Burghfield, was involved in a crash on Southampton Street.

Witnesses reported seeing him shift a handgun from his damaged vehicle into a BMW X5 which arrived to pick him up.

Inside the BMW X5 was Leigh Peppiatt, who took Shehu back to home before then taking the hand gun to Waters’ address in Laytom Rise, Tilehurst.

A few hours later, Waters used the firearm , shooting it seven times into the back of a Honda Jazz -- intending to kill the 42-year-old victim sat inside.

The 'flurry of gunshots' hit the victim in the shoulder and he was rushed to hospital where he made a full recovery.

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After the attack, gunman Waters got into a Ford Fiesta vehicle that had been hired by Douglin, and they both fled the scene.

Peppiatt left the scene in the BMW X5 vehicle that he used earlier on the same evening from Southampton Street.

What role did Peppiatt play?

The 36-year-old, who was sentenced today at Reading Crown Court as his defence counsel could not attend the hearing where his three accomplices learnt their fates, was “actively involved” in the day’s events.

Judge Heather Norton told Peppiatt: “I have no doubt you were actively involved in the events that took place that evening.

“You spent much of that afternoon and the evening driving to various locations sharing vehicles and phones.

“In the hours preceding the shooting you were together with Duggan and Waters.”

The Judge, who described Waters as a “drug-dealer”, noted that Peppiatt had picked Shehu up after the latter was involved in a road accident.

She continued: “You drove to meet him.

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“At that meeting, Shehu was observed transferring a gun into your car.

“I have no doubt this was the same gun used in the shooting.

“The reason why you went to meet Shehu was to collect the gun to deliver it to Waters for his use.

“It is clear to me that you were waiting for [the victim] with Waters armed.

“[The victim] was effectively ambushed and shot at at close range by Waters.”

The 42-year-old victim received only minor injuries, something the Judge noted as “remarkable”.

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Judge Norton said the offences were “professional” and had been “planned” for “some hours”.

She added: “The area was a quiet residential area. Many residents were awoken by the gun shots.

“It must have been extremely distressing and concerning for many people.”

What sentence did Peppiatt receive?

The 36-year-old was given a 14-year prison term.

This is the same sentence Cleon Douglin (of Coley Avenue, Reading), received.

Peppiatt will serve two thirds of this time behind bars before he is eligible for release on licence.

The Reading man was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Thursday, May 6 having been found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life following a five-week trial earlier this year.

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