Farmer cleared of gun charges

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A JURY has decided a former parish councillor and BNP activists did not need a firearms certificate for a ‘gun’ capable of firing flares 500ft into the air.

A JURY has decided a former parish councillor and BNP activists did not need a firearms certificate for a ‘gun’ capable of firing flares 500ft into the air.

Farmer David Lucas, 51, of South Road, Lakenheath, was arrested on August 18 last year after police officers searched a portable building on land he owns at Black Dyke Fen, Hockwold.

Mr Lucas, who pleaded not guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition without the necessary licence, had claimed that the device does not fall under the requirements of the 1968 Firearms Act.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how Mr Lucas purchased the orange gun, made largely from plastic and which still bears a $24.99 price sticker, in Alaska more than three years ago.

Prosecutor Martyn Levett claimed that the Orion Signal Launcher would be “potentially lethal” if fired at someone. Mr Levett claimed that it was a weapon which fell within strict regulations designed to ensure public safety.

On Friday defence barrister Jonathan Davies told the jury that because what might appear to be the barrel of the launcher was in fact shorter than the flares placed within it, the launcher should not be considered to fall under the requirements of the Firearms Act.

Mr Lucas admitted not being the holder of a firearms certificate but said he believed it was not necessary to hold one for the flare launcher and flares found in his possession.

After less than two hours of deliberations the jury returned not guilty verdicts on both charges.