A handgun was passed to Mark Duggan just 15 minutes before he was shot dead by armed police, sparking the riots that blighted the country last August, a court has heard.

Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, 30, is accused of "selling or transferring a prohibited firearm" to Mr Duggan between July 28 and August 5, 2011.

A jury at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that just 12-15 minutes after Hutchinson-Foster allegedly supplied the gun to Mr Duggan, the 29-year-old was shot dead by police. The fatal shooting in Tottenham, north London, on August 4, 2011, sparked disorder across the capital which spread to other cities.

Hutchinson-Foster, of no fixed abode, denies passing the BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun to Mr Duggan, contrary to the Firearms Act 1968.

Opening the case on Tuesday, prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the court: "On August 4 last year a handgun was recovered in Ferry Lane in Tottenham, north London. It had been in the possession of a man named Mark Duggan. The gun was loaded - it had a bullet in its magazine.

"The evidence demonstrates that that gun at that scene had been passed to Mark Duggan by this defendant, Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, shortly before the minicab in which Mark Duggan was travelling was stopped by police in Ferry Lane in Tottenham Hale.

"There in Ferry Lane Mark Duggan was shot and fatally injured by the police as a result of his possession of that gun and what he was thought to be about to do with it. The firearm was a BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun. It had been modified so that it would fire 9mm bullets - a lethal firearm as you will hear.

"The charge this defendant faces is the supply or transfer of that gun to Mark Duggan."

Mr Brown told the jurors they would hear evidence from a number of sources, adding: "That evidence demonstrates that this defendant Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, some 12-15 minutes before Mark Duggan was stopped, supplied that gun to him, Mark Duggan having travelled to the defendant to collect it as had been arranged."

The jury will also hear mobile phone evidence, evidence from the minicab driver who saw the handover, and evidence from an earlier incident just six days before, when Hutchinson-Foster was seen to use the same gun to threaten and beat another man.