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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
OAP with 100 guns at home jailed
William Charles Hughes
Hughes had previously admitted illegally possessing guns
A pensioner who held an illegal arsenal of more than 100 guns at his home has been jailed for five years.

Retired rail worker William Charles Hughes, 66, had earlier admitted two charges of selling illegal firearms and 13 of possessing illegal guns.

Police found 111 weapons while the army had to dispose of a deactivated grenade at his home in Gwersyllt, Wrexham.

His barrister told Caernarfon Crown Court "the world was a very different place" when Hughes' interest began.

Hughes also had 24 shotguns and 37 rifles at his house.

He also admitted a charge of possessing ammunition.

The court heard that police raided Hughes' house in June and found an arsenal of illegal guns, some of which were hidden in a false water tank in the attic.

When Mr Hughes began his interest in firearms the world was a very different place in its approach to guns
Simon Medland, defending

One of the 37 handguns found was loaded and there was also a deactivated grenade which army bomb disposal team was called in to make safe.

Hughes also admitted selling two guns, including a semi automatic pistol to another collector.

Prosecutor Ed Beltrami said Hughes told police that he was a member of a gun club but the illegal weapons did not leave his house.

He added: "He left the firearms around the house because he didn't have enough secure cabinets in which to store them."

'Gravity'

Simon Medland, defending Hughes, said his client never had any intention of using the guns and the law had changed since he started collecting, particularly after the Dunblane school shootings in 1996.

He added: "This is the first time he's been before the courts.

"When Mr Hughes began his interest in firearms the world was a very different place in its approach to guns."

Some of the guns dated back to the 18th and 19th Centuries and a large number of weapons at the property were held legally, the court heard.

But Judge John Rogers said Hughes had been aware of the change in the law on guns and sentenced him to five years in jail.

He told him: "You, I'm sure, now appreciate the gravity of storing at your home so many prohibited firearms and ammunition."




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