Retired Norfolk scrap dealer Donald Hurrell sentenced for illegally held .22 rifle, stash of ammunition and shooting neighbour’s van with an air rifle

PUBLISHED: 16:32 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:20 25 April 2017

Donald Hurrell outside King's Lynn Magistrates Court.

Donald Hurrell outside King's Lynn Magistrates Court.

Archant 2017

A retired scrap metal dealer avoided an immediate jail term after a court heard he had an illegally-held rifle and stash of ammunition.

Donald Hurrell admitted possessing the .22 calibre rifle, nine rounds of expanding .22 ammunition, nine rounds of hollow .22 ammunition and 175 .22 cartridges at an earlier hearing, King’s Lynn magistrates heard.

Hurrell of All Saints Place, Wretton, denied harassing a neighbour, by shooting his van with an air rifle and challenging him to a fight, but was convicted after a trial last month.

Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said police found the guns and ammunition in July, when they arrested Hurrell on suspicion of damaging his neighbour’s van.

He said the expanding ammunition required a special licence. Mr Beaumont said possessing a gun and ammunition “would generally merit a custodial sentence” even in the event of a guilty plea and where the offender had a clean record. Hurrell was a man of previous good character.

In mitigation Charlotte Winchester said Hurrell had been convicted of two counts of firing an air rifle at his neighbour’s van and offering to fight him at a previous hearing.

She said he was “well thought of” in the community and admitted he had been “foolish”.

“In relation to the .22 firearm Mr Hurrell found this in a skip,” she said. “He took it home, he thought it was a collector’s item, he didn’t do anything with it.”

She said Hurrell knew he should have had a licence for the gun, adding: “He simply kept it in his bedroom, he never took it out. He is a hoarder, he collects scrap.”

Hurrell bought some of the cartridges 30 years ago, intending to sell them for scrap, she said. When he found he couldn’t he kept them in a drawer. She added he was given the hollow-points by his brother, who thought he could shoot clay pigeons with them.

Chair of the bench Jean Meldrum said the expanding ammunition “crossed the custody threshold”. Hurrell was given eight weeks custody, suspended for a year, for the firearms charge and eight weeks, suspended for a year, for harassment.

JPs made an order for the firearms and ammunition to be destroyed. Hurrell was also ordered to pay costs of £620, a £115 victim surcharge and given a two year restraining order not to contact his neighbour or to enter his property.

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