Hunt supporter jailed for firearms offences
5:20pm Saturday 28th July 2012 in News
A supporter of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt, arrested after a protester claimed she had been shot in the head, has been jailed for firearms offences.
Steven Richard Barrett was found to have a sawn-off rifle and expanding ammunition hidden inside his van.
Barrett, aged 66, of Penycoed Lodge, Llangynin Road, near St Clears, was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Janet Gedrych, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how on October 19th last year the hunt gathered near Saundersfoot.
There were also several supporters and some protesters.
One of the protesters, Dr Adrian Smallwood, began to film the scene. His wife Monica suddenly said she had been shot in the head and blood could be seen coming from her forehead.
Police viewed the film footage, identified several vehicles, and Barrett was stopped in his Ford Connect van.
Officers found a gun that has been illegally altered.
Miss Gedrych said it had begun life as a 0.22 rimfire rifle but when officers found it, it was more like a single shot handgun.
Barrett had shortened the barrel and replaced the stock with a pistol grip.
Officers also found ten live rounds of 0.22 ammunition designed to expand on impact.
A search of Penycoed Lodge revealed ten air rifles and six air pistols.
One air rifle had a muzzle energy that was so high it should be classed as a firearm requiring a licence.
Miss Gedrych said police officers could find no evidence of anyone being shot.
Barrett was never charged in relation to the “shooting”.
Barrett’s barrister, James Hartson, said he accepted that Parliament had laid down a minimum five year sentence for anyone possessing a rifle with a sawn off barrel, but that was aimed more at “drugs gangs and bank robbers” than people like Barrett, who had never been in trouble.
High Court judge, Mr Justice Spencer, said he had given the matter “anxious consideration.”
He ruled that because of his age and his poor health he could reduce the sentence to three-and-a-half years, but no lower.
Barrett had admitted possessing a rifle with a shortened barrel, illegal ammunition and an overpowered air rifle.