Tony Martin defends home owner who turned a gun on intruders at his Leicestershire home

WISBECH farmer Tony Martin who was jailed for shooting two burglars, killing one, has spoken out in support of the couple who turned a shotgun on intruders in their home.

Tony Martin, who sparked a debate over how much force people could use to defend their homes, said Andy and Tracey Ferrie should not have been arrested and held for three days before being told they would not face charges. They were detained after Mr Ferrie fired a shotgun at masked raiders who smashed their way into their home.

After the Ferries were released it emerged that their cottage near Melton Mowbray had been targeted a number of times.

Mr Martin, 67, who was repeatedly burgled before turning a shotgun on burglars at his remote home in Emneth Hungate, near Wisbech, in August 1999, said: “When they first turn up, you don’t want to shoot anyone or kill anybody. When you’ve had several break-ins, you become a different person.”

Mr Ferrie fired a legally-held shotgun at the gang who invaded his property, before calling police. Four men were later arrested at a hospital in Leicester, two of them with gunshot wounds.

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The couple were held for three days before the Crown Prosecution Service said they would not be charged because they had used reasonable force.

After their release, the Ferries said in a statement: “The past few days have been difficult beyond belief. We are grateful and humbled by the support we have received.”

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Mr Martin, who was jailed for life before his murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter and his sentence cut to five years, added: “I don’t know why those people were arrested and kept in the cells. It goes beyond the pale, there’s no need to treat people like that. They’re the victims.”

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