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Police armourer to appear at crown court

PUBLISHED: 19:49 14 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

A FORMER Suffolk Police armourer will stand trial at crown court charged with a number of firearms offences, including possessing an anti-tank rocket launcher.

A FORMER Suffolk police armourer will stand trial at crown court charged with a number of firearms offences, including possessing an anti-tank rocket launcher.

Richard Ashley, formerly an armourer to both Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies, appeared in court yesterday accused of possessing a number of weapons he was not authorised to have. His collection was alleged to have included rocket launchers, revolvers, grenade launchers and guns adapted for the discharge of noxious liquid gas.

As a registered gun dealer and supplier of weapons to the police, Ashley had the authority to keep 75 fully-assembled prohibited weapons, but it is claimed he had a collection of more than 100.

The 55-year-old arms dealer of Fen Road, Pakenham, near Bury St Edmunds, faced 16 firearms charges when he appeared before Sudbury magistrates.

The prosecution withdrew one charge and district judge Patrick Heley dismissed two other charges.

Ashley was sent to stand trial at crown court on four charges. The case involving the remaining nine charges was adjourned until after the crown court proceedings had been completed.

The charges that Ashley will face at the crown court are:

n On February 14, 2001, in Pakenham, without the authority of the Secretary of State, he had in his possession 48 firearms that either had a barrel less than 30cm in length or were less than 60cm in length overall.

n On February 14, 2001, in Pakenham, without the authority of the Secretary of State, he had in his possession 41 firearms that were so designed or adapted that two or more missiles could be successively discharged without repeated pressure on the trigger.

n On February 14, 2001, in Pakenham, without the authority of the Secretary of State, he had in his possession a RPG rocket launcher, a mortar launcher, a Mauser rifle with grenade launcher, a service no. 4 MK 1 rifle with grenade launcher, a service no. 4 MK 1 rifle with grenade launcher and an anti-tank rocket launcher for projecting a stabilised missile other than a launcher or mortar designed for line throwing or pyrotechnic purposes or as signalling apparatus.

n On February 14, 2001, in Pakenham, without the authority of the Secretary of State, he had in his possession a Webley Baton gun, a Fereral gas gun, a Webley riot gun, a Webley Schermuly riot gun, a Webley riot gun, a Webley Schermuly riot gun and a Webley riot gun, being weapons designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid gas or other thing.

Ashley, who denied all the charges, was released on unconditional bail to appear at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court on July 12.

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