LITTLE DOWNHAM: Pensioner Who Kept Shotgun As An Ornament Is Fined

PUBLISHED: 10:29 20 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 04 May 2010

A PENSIONER who kept an unlicensed shotgun as an ornament has appeared in court. John William Smith, 75, who has sight difficulties and only one arm, pleaded guilty to possessing a shotgun without a certificate at Ely Magistrates on Thursday. Police sea

A PENSIONER who kept an unlicensed shotgun as an "ornament" has appeared in court.

John William Smith, 75, who has sight difficulties and only one arm, pleaded guilty to possessing a shotgun without a certificate at Ely Magistrates on Thursday.

Police searching his home in Cophall Drove, Little Downham, on March 25, found the weapon propped against a kitchen cabinet, with a box of ammunition nearby.

Laura Mardell, prosecuting the case, told the court that Smith was arrested immediately.

She said: "He admitted to police officers that he had owned the gun for 20 years and didn't have a certificate for it."

Robert Milson, representing Smith, said: "My client told the police truthfully that he kept the gun as an ornament. He didn't have a license for it because it never occurred to him that he needed one. He never intended to use the gun as a weapon."

When asked by the magistrates why Smith had a box of shotgun cartridges if he never intended to use them, Mr Milson said: "They came with the gun and were simply left up on a shelf. The gun was never loaded and it was never lent to anybody."

The magistrates told Smith: "Firearms offences, as you know, are taken seriously. Police want to know where they are, what type of gun they are and who has them - if they are not licensed they can easily fall into the wrong hands.

"We are going to fine you £250, which is quite a lot of money considering your income, but we have to mark how serious this offence is. You will also pay court costs of £60 and victim surcharge of £15."

The magistrates also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the weapon and ammunition.

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