Man jailed over 160 guns found in house fire

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A 74-year-old man has been jailed for five years after 160 guns were found at his home following a fire.
The weapons and ammunition, including machine guns and assault rifles, were discovered at Paul Bushell's home in Nelson Road, Gillingham on 7 May.


Sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Philip Statman said the haul posed a "significant risk to the community".
Bushell had earlier pleaded guilty to firearms offences.
Judge Statman said the weapons included a Luger general-purpose machine gun, an Armalite assault rifle and an AKM47 assault rifle.

 

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He said: "It is not suggested you have criminal links with the underworld, nor is it suggested that you have acted as an armourer. For around 50 years, you have been fascinated by guns.
"You, more than anyone, know of the danger of weapons of this kind, and the destruction they could cause should they fall into the hands of criminals."


When police officers arrived at Bushell's home following the fire, they found unlicensed automatic weapons, as well as antique and replica guns kept loose in drawers and two guns in a cabinet.


A Kent Police spokesman said: "A large number of guns discovered were loaded and ready to fire with others having been deactivated professionally and then reactivated unprofessionally."
Bushell had obtained parts for his collection at arms fairs, at which he was well known, the court was told.


Det Insp Susan Smith said: "Bushell had a staggering collection of guns which, if they were to get into the wrong hands, could have been catastrophic."


Sarah Dineley from the CPS added: "These weapons were not locked away and were kept loaded in a house that children visited regularly.
"The possible consequences were obvious and serious. Had the property been burgled, they could have easily fallen into the hands of criminals.
"They also posed a serious risk to the firefighters who attended the home, given the weapons were recovered from inside the fire-damaged room."


Bushell admitted seven counts of possessing a prohibited weapon and six counts of possessing ammunition without a firearms certificate.


BBC NEWS

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Friday, 22 November 2019

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