Trial begins of Wisbech councillor and former town mayor on firearms charge - reporting from Cambridge Crown Court

13:50 17 July 2014

Jonathan Farmer

Jonathan Farmer

Archant

The trial has begun of the Wisbech councillor – and former town mayor- who was found with a Second World War gun at his home.

Jonathan Farmer, 56, of South Brink, Wisbech, denies one charge of possession of a firearm under the 1968 Firearms Act.

The gun, a Walther PPK hand gun dating from 1941, with a barrel less than 12in in length, was discovered during a police search of Farmer’s home on January 10 this year.

That morning, officers with search dogs arrived at the home at 7.15am.

When Farmer was asked if there were firearms at the premises, he retrieved the gun from the brown leather holster in a cabinet on the first floor landing.

He told the officers “I think it has been deactivated”.

Farmer was arrested and, under questioning, explained the hand gun was a gift from a veteran of the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, who had taken it from a German officer.

The case, which is being heard at Cambridge Crown Court, hinges in whether the handgun should be classified as a weapon or, as the defence argues, an antique – there is an exemption under the 1968 act for guns which are considered an ornament or curiosity.

Michael Proctor, prosecuting, said the handgun was in excellent condition and, if given the correct ammunition, could still be fired and injure or kill somebody.

Addressing the jury, he said: “It is up to you to decide whether this is an antique or a modern weapon. The gun is not antique or obsolete; it is a fully-functioning modern weapon despite its age.”

The jury has been shown the gun, which contained two inert bullets (they were not live as explosives had been removed from them).

The case continues.

It is expected to last two days.

Ruth Neave and Gary Rogers.

A former ITV journalist who covered the Rikki Neave murder 20 years ago has revealed that a Cambridgeshire police officer demanded payment for tipping her off that Ruth Neave was to be arrested for murder.

09:26
Police have released CCTV images of man they wish to speak to about the incident.

A 15 year-old boy was approached by a man who made comments of a sexual nature towards him in the George Campbell Leisure Centre’s swimming pool changing rooms.

15:51
Ivars Mezals and Juris Valujevs were arrested in October last year in raids carried out as part of Operation Endeavour.

Two men have been found guilty of exploiting migrant workers as part of an illegal gangmaster operation in Fenland.

Neale-Wade enterprise challenge

Students at Neale-Wade Academy in March were given an insight into running their own business by taking part in an enterprise simulation delivered by The Skills Service.

Most read stories

E-edition