A TRIO will be sentenced for firearms offences in the last act of a "painstaking" two year investigation into a man's murder.

Robert Ketley, 24, Reece Williams, 20 and a 15-year-old boy will each be sentenced this month after they were each found guilty of two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon, two counts of possession of prohibited ammunition.

The group will be the last defendants sentenced in connection with the murder of 34-year-old John Pordage outside a petrol station on August 5 2017.

Mr Pordage, who grew up in South Woodham Ferrers died in hospital after being shot by then 17-year-old Bradley Blundell from point blank range.

Saul Stanley, then 18, was arrested during the investigation and charged with various firearms offences, perverting the course of justice and handling stolen goods, he received five years.

Following Mr Pordage's death, Stanley made arrangements for a revolver, sawn-off shotgun and bullets to be removed from a house in Chelmsford.

They were placed in a wheelie bin at the house for Ketley, Williams and the teenager to take away, however the occupants of the home called the police.

A police spokesman said: "The bin was later found in an alleyway.

"There were no firearms or ammunition inside, but there were bags of household waste and half a bin bag of cannabis.

"A plastic bag was found to have Ketley’s fingerprints on it."

The three suspects were arrest that afternoon, and in custody Williams told officers where the firearms, a converted starter pistol and sawn off double barrelled shotgun were hidden.

A police spokesman added: "Officers recovered a revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition and a sawn off shotgun that was in the locked position ready to be fired and loaded with two live cartridges.

"There were also shotgun cartridges and drugs paraphernalia."

Ketley, Williams and the teenager were also charged with one count of perverting the course of justice.

The teenager admitted to all the charges on Friday July 12.

Ketley denied the charges before changing his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial on Wednesday July 24.

Williams admitted the firearms and ammunition offences but denied perverting the course of justice.

He was found not guilty of that charge yesterday, Thursday August 1.

On the night of Mr Pordage's death, Blundell, as well as a group of suspects including Ella Colgate, Stanley, an unnamed boy and Colgate’s friend, Florence Lawes fled the petrol station in Baddow Road, Great Baddow and drove to the Saltmarshes in Maldon where they set about destroying any evidence.

All three of the defendants are due to be sentenced later this month, at a date yet to be decided.

That hearing brings to a close a two-year investigation into the death of Mr Pordage.

Detective chief inspector Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said their involvement was "not directly linked to the murder of John Pordage, the case itself was linked via Saul Stanley."

He said: "This case highlights once again the risks of getting involved with criminal groups.

“These individuals were asked to recover firearms and drugs. They are now facing the possibility of imprisonment.

“It is incredible to think they hid guns in a children’s play area.

“Both were loaded with live ammunition.

"The possible consequences of a child finding these weapons is chilling.

"This brings to a close a painstaking investigation involving three court cases and seven defendants.

“My thoughts are also with John’s family and friends."