Man, 37, threatens to kneecap inspector

A 37–year–old man was sacked from his job at a hunt kennels after threatening to kneecap a Government inspector.

Mark Winter, of Woodseats Lane, Charlesworth, pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and a shotgun without certificates, possessing ammunition for a firearm without a certificate and intentionally obstructing an authorised person when he appeared at High Peak Magistrates’ Court.

Laura Dyke, prosecuting, said A DEFRA inspector had attended the hunt kennels where Winter worked in order to make an unannounced inspection. She added: “He was confronted by this defendant.

“The defendant shouted at him ‘if you come through those gates again I will get a baseball bat and kneecap you’.”

The inspector reacted by saying the premises would need to be inspected at some point, to which Winter responded saying he would get a 12-bore shotgun out of the house if he visited again.

The police attended the house, where they found a 243 calibre action rifle and a 12-bore shotgun, as well as the ammunition.

The licence for the guns had run out a few days beforehand – they had also only been registered to an address in London, not the High Peak.

Winter, who was not represented in court, said: “I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t rude and abusive to the man.

“There were mitigating circumstances.

“Unfortunately he came at the wrong time and very wrongly I took it out on him.

“I can’t quite believe that I said what I said to him.”

Winter went onto explain that he was having an argument with his wife when the inspector arrived.

“I was angry but not at him,” he said. “I acted how I did because of the circumstances.”

The defendant said he had had a firearms licence for five years and a shotgun licence for ten years and had used the firearms for shooting vermin.

He said he didn’t know why he had not changed the address under which they were registered to his current address in Charlesworth.

Winter added that he had forgotten when the firearms licence finished until he received a call from Thames Valley Police to say they had expired.

After this, he had tried to find someone with a licence to take them, however had not done so in time before the police arrived.

Since the involvement of the police, Winter said he had been sacked by his employers for gross misconduct.

He was ordered to pay fines totalling £330 and court costs of £85. Winter was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £33.