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Pest controller was denied gun licence after son’s cannabis conviction revealed

PUBLISHED: 18:23 07 February 2020 | UPDATED: 21:40 07 February 2020

Stephen Joyce’s weapons were confiscated following a drugs raid at a property on Mill Lane, Seething. Picture: Google Street View

Stephen Joyce’s weapons were confiscated following a drugs raid at a property on Mill Lane, Seething. Picture: Google Street View

Archant

A 65-year-old man had his gun licence revoked after weapons were found at a house belonging to his son who was involved in the production of cannabis.

Stephen Joyce's weapons were confiscated following a drugs raid at a property on Mill Lane, Seething, where approximately 200 plants were found.

His son, David, who owned the property, later admitted allowing his premises to be used for the production of cannabis between July 31 and October 31, 2017.

Mr Joyce stored the guns at his son's house while renovation work was completed at his own home and stayed in a mobile home in the meantime. His son did not have a gun licence.

Mr Joyce had his gun certificate revoked in February 2018 and, 18 months later, an application for it to be reinstated was refused.

At an appeal against the refusal on Friday, February 7, Norwich Crown Court heard from Richard Kennett, firearms manager at Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, who denied Mr Joyce his licence.

"Mr Joyce failed to notify us of the change of address which is a condition placed on all shotgun certificate holders, and gave access to an unauthorised person," said Mr Kennett.

"In situations where people are involved in the misuse of drugs, they are often associated with the misuse of firearms as well.

"I concluded that there was a blatant disregard to the certificate and that represented a danger to public safety."

However, Mr Kennett admitted it had later transpired that the address in which Mr Joyce's weapons were found was different to the address where the cannabis factory was uncovered.

The court heard Mr Joyce had worked on a farm for several decades and, latterly, in pest control.

He said he believed his son still had a valid gun licence and maintained he knew nothing of the cannabis factory.

"I have always done things the right way until this one slip up," added Mr Joyce, who first obtained a shotgun certificate in his 20s.

"I plan to be more careful around guns and make sure they are under lock and key."

Judge Andrew Shaw said he was "not at all critical" of Mr Kinnett's initial decision to revoke Mr Joyce's licence, but added there was now "minimal" risk and therefore allowed his appeal to stand.

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