Fenland farmer who stored ammunition illegally ‘pointed gun at Pc’, court hears

A FARMER who claims he used a gun to chase an attacker away from his home has been fined �1,000 for illegally keeping ammunition.

Danny Thorpe, 65, appeared at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with possessing 171 live .22 rifle ammunition without a certificate.

The 65-year-old had originally denied the charge but during his trial yesterday, he changed his plea to guilty after being told his defence was not acceptable.

Satten Al-Mughoiry, prosecuting, told the court police officers attended Thorpe’s house, in Main Road, Clenchwarton, near King’s Lynn, on June 9 last year to execute a warrant.

He said: “When the officers searched the defendant’s property they found live ammunition in a safe and at the time Mr Thorpe was not the holder of a firearms certificate.”

Officers also seized a .22 rifle during the raid but a charge of possessing the rifle without a certificate was later dropped because the prosecution offered no evidence.

Mr Al-Mughoiry also told the court that Thorpe did have a firearms certificate previously but that it was revoked in 2009.

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The prosecutor later added that Thrope also had his certificate temporarily suspended in 1995 after a suggestion it had been pointed at a police officer.

Referring to last year’s raid Thorpe, who was unrepresented, said: “The only reason police were called to my property in the first place was because I was being burgled. I had caught the burglar on my property and I was assaulted.”

Mr Thorpe, who also gave the judge a character reference from North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, then told the court about the events leading up to his certificate being revoked in 2009.

He said: “It was a bad time when thieving was rife and my property was being targeted everyday.

“Police asked me who I thought it was and I gave them a name. This person, who has a violent and extreme criminal record, then turned up on my premises with a baseball bat and told me it was bad news leaking his name to the police.

“He started attacking me with the bat and my only option to stop him attacking me further was to get my gun and get him out of the house.

“I then reported this to the firearms officer and my certificate was revoked and my guns were taken but the ammunition was left behind which I didn’t realise.”

He added: “The thieving has been so bad of late. I thought I held the record recently for being robbed twice in one day and the thieving is so bad I have had to barricade my premises.”

At a previous hearing Thorpe had told magistrates he was representing himself because he did not want to spend the “public purse”.

District Judge Philip Browning told Thorpe he had taken into account what he had said about the background leading up to the offence and the current situation.

But he added: “This is a serious offence which could have potentially caused danger.”

He fined Thorpe �1,000 for the offence and ordered him to pay �380 in court costs. Judge Browning also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the ammunition.