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Wyverstone: Reaction given as ex-parish chairman James Arnold, held after hundreds of weapons are found, dies following cancer battle

PUBLISHED: 09:28 24 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:28 24 July 2014

Police had worked for weeks at the scene in Wyverstone

Police had worked for weeks at the scene in Wyverstone

Archant

Members of a village community have spoken of their shock after revelations were made about the large quantity of weapons and ammunition found at their former parish council chairman’s property.

It is understood the number of weapons discovered at James Arnold’s Potash Lane home ran into three figures and was one of the biggest hauls of its kind in the country. The 49-year-old had been due to appear at Ipswich Crown Court tomorrow. However, following a lengthy battle with terminal cancer he died on July 14 while in custody.

The charges against him related to possessing an Uzi machine gun, an AK47 assault rifle, a bolt action shotgun and a self-loading rifle gun. But since his arrest in April it is understood more allegations were laid against him as the case progressed.

Andy Mellen, took over from Mr Arnold as parish chairman in May. “The news of his death is sad news for his family and for people that knew him, it is a tragedy for his family and he is a loss to the community,” he said.

“As far as his duties as parish chairman, he did those very diligently, so whatever maybe going on in his private world as far as public duties and service to the village he did them completely diligently.

“He was someone who had an interest in guns, that was well-known; he had a firearms licence and a shotgun licence and he held clay pigeon shoots on his land. There was a genuine and legitimate interest as many people in the countryside have.

“That’s not unusually but obviously there was apparently another side to it – allegedly illegal weapons.”

Neighbour, Duncan Brigham, 58, said: “You would not expect it in a village this size; I was completely surprised about it. You would not have thought about it: chairman of the parish council in a small village.”

Another resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “I knew he had a gun or guns but not the amount he had. You usually read about it and it’s somewhere else, not here, that was the worrying thing.”

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