Weapons kept under licence, court told

IT has emerged today that a Suffolk firearms dealer was allowed to keep illegal weapons under his licence.Ipswich Crown Court heard that any weapon could be kept by anybody as long as it was "deactivated".

IT has emerged today that a Suffolk firearms dealer was allowed to keep illegal weapons under his licence.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that any weapon could be kept by anybody as long as it was "deactivated".

Martyn Levett, defending Richard (Timothy) Ashley, told the court that the Secretary of State had authorised Ashley to hold prohibited weapons.

Mr Levett said: "If he was lecturing army or police he has the authority to take a selection of his guns from his home address to the venue, if the prohibited weapons used for lecture purposes are deactivated."


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He said the Firearms Act states that once a weapon has been deactivated it is no longer classed as a firearm and is therefore, not affected by the licence.

While cross examining firearms licensing officer, Richard Kennett, Mr Levett said: "So if a gun has been deactivated in an approved way it is not even a firearm and for that there is no authority, no licensing or conditions whatever."

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Mr Kennett replied: "Yes it ceases to be a firearm, the act appears to be badly worded, it is the Secretary of State's wording, not mine."

Mr Levett said that if Ashley was to give a weapons lecture and wish to assemble component parts into guns he could leave just one component part at home and this would comply with the act.

Mr Levett said that by taking the "breechlock" or bolt out of a gun it would not work and would, therefore, not need to be regulated.

He added: "If Mr Ashley goes to a lecture, to comply with the condition, all he has to do is take the bolt out and leave it at home, he could go off with the rest, do his lecture, assemble the other two component parts and it becomes an immobilised gun."

Mr Kennett replied: "Yes."

Ashley, of Pakenham, has denied five charges of possessing prohibited weapons without the permission of the Home Secretary.

The 57-year-old who supplied arms to Suffolk and Norfolk police, claims police officers assembled component parts of guns during a search of his home to "fit him up".

The trial continues.

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