Boston pensioner found in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition is spared jail

Pensioner escapes jail on firearms charge
Pensioner escapes jail on firearms charge

A 71-YEAR-old pensioner, who was found in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, has been given a suspended prison sentence by magistrates at Boston.

David Michael Lankford of Punchbowl Lane, who admitted two charges of possessing ammunition and one of possessing firearms, was said to be banned for life from possessing ammunition or lethally barrelled firearms, as a result of a three year prison sentence which he served from February 2012.

Prosecuting, Nick Todd said police searched his Boston home on October 18 last year and found 59 air gun pellets, 432 12 gauge shotgun cartridges and five lethally barrelled air weapons.

In interview, Lankford told police that when officers had left his home after searching it in 2012, they had left the firearms and ammunition and so he thought it was 'OK to keep them'.

Mr Todd said all the items were found in a 'gun cabinet the size of a small wardrobe' and that it would be 'astonishing' if the police at that time had missed them.

Mitigating, Carrie Simson asked the magistrates to retain jurisdiction over the case even though legislation seemed to say that an immediate custodial sentence of at least nine months was appropriate in such cases as these, and to suspend any prison sentence.

She said there were no related offences which could have aggravated the situation and that when police originally searched his house seven years ago, he believed they had taken everything they should have.

Ms Simson said the firearms and ammunition, which were all over 10 years old and some of it over 20 years, were 'all in the cabinet and he hasn't been to the cabinet since 2011' and had gifted them to a local gun club in his will.

She said he had several serious medical problems and was taking 26 prescribed tablets a day, which meant he was unlikely to serve a prison sentence wherever he was sentenced.

She added that Lankford himself did 'not expect to live much longer'.

The magistrates said 'the custody threshold had been passed' but because he did legally own them originally and had pleaded guilty, they would suspend the sentence.

He was given a total of 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered him to pay £200 in costs and charges.

The magistrates ordered he be deprived of the guns and ammunition.