Nathan Gardier
Nathan Gardier, 24, was found asleep at the wheel in moving trafficMet Police

A bungling drink-driver from north-east London faces jail after being found asleep in his car with a loaded handgun in his lap. Nathan Gardier, 24, was driving intoxicated along Willow Walk in Walthamstow on Thursday (4 August) when he fell asleep in slow-moving traffic.

When a member of the public went over to his car, they noticed a gun lying on his lap.

They took the keys from his ignition and flagged down a passing police car.

Police checked on Gardier who woke up. He was quickly restrained by two officers before they removed the automatic handgun from the vehicle.

Gardier, who was one-and-a-half times the legal drink driving limit, later told the Met Police's anti-gang unit, Trident, that he found the weapon, which contained a single 9mm bullet.

He appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition, and to being in charge of a motor vehicle with an alcohol level above the prescribed limit.

Gardier, of Falmer Road, Walthamstow, will appear for sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 16 August.

It comes just over two moths after the Met Police said armed police patrols would target London's gun crime hotspots following a rise in the number of shootings in the capital – a trend also seen across the country.

Police chiefs said there had been a "significant" rise in the number of shootings in London, with 122 shootings between January and May this year compared to 226 for the whole of 2015. About half of this year's shootings are drug-related, the Met Police said.

Last year, officers in London took the highest number of weapons off the street with 714 firearms recovered. It said the city had comparatively low levels of gun crime compared with capital cities around the world.

The Metropolitan Police Service is offering a sum of up to £2,000 as a reward for information that leads to the recovery of firearms, together with the arrest and prosecution of those in criminal possession of them.

Anyone who has any information about people that carry or use firearms can call 020 7230 8401, or in the event of an emergency 999.