Man left two loaded shotguns outside while he was ‘at the police station’

Court news SUS-170719-155225001
Court news SUS-170719-155225001

A 54-year-old man who left two loaded shotguns all night close to a main road outside his house, has had his weapons confiscated and they will be destroyed, following a court order.

David Beniston, of Main Road, Old Leake, admitted failing to comply with the conditions attached to a shotgun certificate, when he appeared before magistrates at Boston.

Prosecuting, Paul Wood said that on the night of April 17, Beniston was involved in a dispute with someone to whom he had earlier that day sold a car, after which he was seen by police officers and taken to a police station.

Police were aware he had a shotgun certificate and invited him to surrender the weapons, which he agreed to.

An officer went to Beniston’s house the following morning to check the weapons but found the gun cabinet open and empty.

A check of his grounds resulted in the two shotguns being found fully loaded and propped up against a tree just inside his property by a gate leading to the main A52.

Mr Wood said it was believed the weapons had been there all night as Beniston had been at the police station.

“To leave two loaded shotguns in this position at night is a very substantial breach of the law,” said Mr Wood, who applied to the magistrates to seize the weapons and revoke Beniston’s shotgun certificate.

In mitigation, Beris Brickles said Beniston did not oppose the forfeiture of the guns.

He said Beniston, who has a smallholding of five acres and used the guns to control vermin, had held a certificate for 15 years and had never previously been in breach of the rules.

He said his family had been away that weekend and he had been shooting pigeons when a friend called and they went into the house and he completely forgot he had left the guns where he had.

“His punishment is the loss of his good character,” said Mr Brickles.

Fining him £186, the magistrates said it was a ‘substantial’ breach of the regulations and cancelled his shotgun certificate and ordered the destruction of the weapons.

He was also ordered to pay £115 in costs and charges.

Beniston denied a second charge of being in possession of an offensive weapon on the same date and the case was adjourned for a trial next month.