Gun club member shopped by ex-wife

A FORMER gun-club member is awaiting sentence after he illegally kept an antique rifle and a shotgun at his Kesgrave home.Roderick Bestwick appeared before magistrates in Ipswich where he admitted having an Enfield .

A FORMER gun-club member is awaiting sentence after he illegally kept an antique rifle and a shotgun at his Kesgrave home.

Roderick Bestwick appeared before magistrates in Ipswich where he admitted having an Enfield .303 rifle and a double-barrelled shotgun without a firearm certificate.

The items were found in a garage of his Laurel Avenue home after Bestwick's estranged wife tipped off police.

But Roger Thomson, mitigating, said Bestwick thought his ex-wife had surrendered the items during a gun amnesty nine years ago.


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Prosecutor Gareth Davies said the pair were going through a "messy" divorce and his ex-wife contacted police after he turned up at her parent's house and "made a nuisance of himself."

After Bestwick returned home his ex-wife told police "in passing" she thought her husband had been in possession of some firearms. Police found the items in a search of his home address.

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Bestwick, who has no previous convictions, also admitted being in possession of 26 .22 Rimfire cartridges and seven rounds of .303 cartridges without a firearms certificate. Other firearms related items were found which were not covered under the Firearms Act.

Mr Davies said Bestwick told police thought he no longer had the items.

"He had surrendered them in a gun amnesty about nine years ago. His wife formally surrendered the items on his behalf."

He added: "There is no sinister background to this. It is a clear possession."

Roger Thomson, mitigating, said Bestwick had an interest in guns back in the 70's when was a member of a club.

He told the court: "Bestwick had fully licensed shotguns, pistols, and large bore rifles used for shooting. He gave up his interest towards the end of the 70's.

"Both guns were of historic interest and both were obtained for curiosity. The Enfield gun was originally a test gun probably produced for pre-Boar war. It was considerably aged and was bought in the 1970's when he had an arms certificate."

The shotgun, which was an unassembled hammer gun with only one barrel capable of firing. He had never fired either of the guns.

Mr Thomson told magistrates. "Presumably they were right at the back of the garage with the junk."

Bench chairwoman Maureen Bateman committed the case to Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing at a date to be fixed.

She said Bestwick was familiar with guns and ammunition and should have been aware of the regulations. The guns were his responsibility and were not kept secure.

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