Rabbit hunter caught with loaded air weapon, knives and ammunition after anti-poaching patrol

PUBLISHED: 17:10 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 17 April 2019

David Catling is a keen fisherman and rabbit hunter. PHOTO: Mick Howes

David Catling is a keen fisherman and rabbit hunter. PHOTO: Mick Howes


A keen fisherman and rabbit hunter was spared jail after being caught with a loaded air weapon, knives and live ammunition.

David Catling, from Kessingland, was stopped by police as part of an anti-poaching patrol in Lowestoft on September 27, 2018.

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded air weapon and two counts of possessing a knife in public following the check on Glebe Road East.

A search of his Barber Close home the following day found cannabis, amphetamine and live Smith and Wesson ammunition. He also pleaded guilty to possession of class B drugs and ammunition for a firearm without a certificate.

Stacie Cossey, prosecuting, said: “Police officers stopped him in his vehicle after receiving information that he may have been poaching. They found an air weapon with knives and fresh fish.

“He told police that he had been fishing and as far as he was aware he was allowed to do that. The knives were to skin rabbits and that is why he kept them in his van, but he admitted he had not been doing that that day.”

Catling appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, April 17.

James Hartley, mitigating, said: “He went to go fishing that day but realised he could not because the sea was so rough, so he was going to collect his dogs from his sister and go shooting rabbits instead.

“He hardly ever watches television or follows the news, but he thinks he may have seen something about problems with knife crime elsewhere in the country.

“He is a metal detectorist and has found various items which he has displayed at home. He did not realise he needed a certificate to possess it, but he had nothing to fire it with and no intention of doing so anyway.”

Catling was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work for the two knife offences, as well as receiving six months inprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

He was also sentenced to one month in custody for the air weapon and three months for possessing the live ammunition, both suspended for 18 months. All sentences would run concurrently.

Magistrates also fined Catling £100 for each drug offence and ordered him to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £115.

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