Military history enthusiast avoids jail after illegally keeping rifle and expanding bullets

A military history enthusiast who kept a rifle with ammunition designed to expand on impact has narrowly avoided going to jail.

Saturday, 5th March 2016, 6:29 am
Northampton Crown Court

Dale Robinson, aged 28, was arrested by Northamptonshire Police officers after they searched his home address and found a Martini Cadet rifle as well as ammunition.

Robinson, had a shotgun licence, but this did not cover the possession of the rifle, a type used by the Australian army during the Boer War.

Northampton Crown Court heard the ammunition included standard rifle rounds as well as bullets designed to expand on impact.

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Caroline Bray, prosecuting, said the police investigation began into Robinson after he was traced as the person who had sold a starter pistol to a man who used it to scare a member of the public in Wellingborough.

The rifle and ammunition were uncovered after a search at his address in Lavendon, on the Northamptonshire/ Buckinghamshire border.

Ms Bray said: “The gun was tested and was capable of being used with very nasty bullets.

“It was kept at home and wasn’t locked in a cupboard so it was accessible to any other people in the address.”

Robinson pleaded guilty to possessing the firearm and the ammunition.

Alex Radley, mitigating, said his client had been obsessed with military history since he was 13 years old and collected battlefield memorabilia.

Mr Radley said he had picked the ammunition up from a military sale but never had any intention of using the rifle.

The court heard that it had been “sat in a cupboard for two years and only taken out to be cleaned.”

Mr Radley said his client, who has been in custody since he was arrested in January, felt like his “world had been turned upside down” and he would have nothing to do with weapons in the future.

His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo sentenced Robinson to 14 months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

He said: “You may think these guns are harmless toys but any breach of this order and you will be sent to prison.”