OAP can keep gun after grandson is barred from house

Swindon Court

Swindon Court

First published in News

A PENSIONER who had his shotgun certificate confiscated by the police over fears about his grandson has been allowed to have it back.

Richard Stent’s permission to hold a gun was removed the day after police went to his house earlier this year about alleged antisocial behaviour by people living with him.

But after hearing the 74-year-old’s grandson had been evicted and barred from going near his house, and he was moving, a judge sitting with two magistrates upheld his appeal.

The pensioner, who was born on a farm and still keeps ferrets, had his licence revoked after the visit on March 31 about the behaviour of Christopher Stent.

When police went to his house on Ruskin Avenue, Stratton, he was outside with the gun in a cloth case with the 21-year-old relative.

Ian Napier, Swindon Council’s ASBO officer, said he had gone to see Mr Stent with PC Jack Newman and housing officer Claire Cuthbert.

He told Swindon Crown Court he asked to speak to Richard Stent inside, and the older man handed the gun to his grandson.

“That is when the police officer said, ‘Mr Stent, you can’t do that’, and he took it. He had it for a split second,” said Mr Napier.

Since then, he said, an antisocial behaviour injunction had been imposed, preventing Christopher from going within 100 yards of his grandfather’s home.

Mr Napier said Christopher and another young man had been causing horrific problems to neighbours.

The court was told the pensioner had been offered a one-bedroom council home in The Bungalows, Pinehurst, which he was going to take up.

Stent told the court he had the gun that day as he was going out shooting but normally kept it in a locked cabinet.

Allowing the appeal Judge Douglas Field said: “In a visit to you by PC Jack Newman, Claire Cuthbert and Ian Napier a shotgun belonging to you was observed leaning against the hedge.

“You gave the impression you would leave the shotgun in the care of your grandson.

“That was the situation that prevailed at that time when the inspector decided that the appellant’s shotgun certificate should be revoked. Mr Stent appeals that.

“We have, this morning, heard his appeal, heard evidence from the police, from the inspector and from the ASBO officer, Mr Napier.

“The police have concerned that on this particular occasion Mr Stent senior allowed the shotgun to be in possession, albeit momentarily, of Christopher Stent.

“Today we have heard evidence from Mr Stent. The circumstances that prevailed at the end of March this year are very different.

“Christopher Stent has now been evicted from the property and he has now been made subject of an injunction, lasting 12 months, preventing him going within the vicinity of the property.

“Mr Stent has been offered, by the local authority, a one bed bungalow in a different area.

“At the moment there is nobody in this property apart from Mr Richard Stent. He tells us in evidence that he intends to take up the offer of alternative accommodation, this one-bed bungalow.

“Mr Stent gave evidence in a very clear and straightforward way. He is in good health, was born on a farm, still has ferrets.

“During the season he likes to go shooting every weekend. He keeps his 12-bore in a cabinet.

“He tells us his relationship with Christopher has now come to an end. We are not surprised.

“It was clear their relationship had broken down and he wanted him evicted.

“He said that situation will prevail in the future.

“We have to decide whether or not this appellant is a risk in having a shotgun certificate, that risk being that shotgun getting into the hands of people other than him, particularly Christopher, that would cause a risk to the public.

“Taking into account the present situation and the good impression of Mr Stent we have decided he is not such a risk, his appeal should be allowed and his shotgun certificate restored to him.”

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