A FARMER who tried to settle a dispute with a shotgun has been jailed.
Nigel Hooper, aged 42, fired the gun over the head of Alexander Colley as Mr Colley tried to drive away a lorry he believed belonged to him.
Hooper, of Prouts Park Farm, East Williamston, near Tenby, had denied putting fear into Mr Colley that violence was about to be used but had been convicted after a trial.
He had already admitted possessing the gun without a licence.
Hooper was jailed for 12 months, yesterday.
Judge Keith Thomas, sitting at Swansea crown court, said Hooper and Mr Colley fell into a dispute about “goods sold and money owed”.
Judge Thomas said he was not going into the rights and wrongs about who had the right to the farm machinery they were arguing over.
Mr Colley had gone to Hooper’s farm to repossess, as he saw it, the horse lorry. As he manoeuvred the lorry in Hooper’s farmyard Hooper appeared holding the shotgun.
Hooper fired the gun. Although Mr Colley had said Hooper had fired at him Judge Thomas said no injury was caused and there was no evidence about the direction Hooper had fired in.
Witnesses said Mr Colley was still “quivering with fear” some time after the incident.
“He clearly intended to frighten Mr Colley,” said the judge.
He said there was understandable concern about the use of firearms “and that goes for a rural setting”.
Judge Thomas said he noted that a probation officer who prepared a pre-sentence report on Hooper described his attitude towards guns as “cavalier”.