A British National Party supporter and former registered firearms dealer (RFD) has been handed a two year suspended sentence after being convicted of illegally dealing in firearms.
The Cambridge News reported that Peter Frenette, 73, of Great North Road, Little Paxton, Cambridgeshire, was found guilty of eight firearms offences at Peterborough Crown Court on Monday 5th October.
Frenette, described by the Cambridge News as a “master gunmaker”, was an RFD until April last year, the court heard. Cambridgeshire Police refused to renew his registration at that point.
The police then executed a search warrant at his home in September 2014, discovering firearms and ammunition. According to the newspaper:
Frenette, who was one of the BNP’s oldest activists and who is a rifle expert and gun craftsman, denied eight offences: acting as a firearms dealer when not registered, four counts of possessing a firearm without a certificate, two counts of possessing expanding ammunition without a certificate and failing to comply with the conditions of a shotgun certificate (related to the shotgun under his bed).
It appears that although Frenette’s RFD status was withdrawn he continued to hold a shotgun certificate, as seen by the charge of failing to comply with certificate conditions. Why he continued to hold an SGC while presumably having had his FAC revoked was not explained.
The gunsmith did not attend court, reportedly because he “did not recognise its jurisdiction”.
An entry for Frenette’s former business on the Gundealer.net website says:
Ex – Holland & Holland Master Gunmaker, specialising in valuing and repairing of all types of sporting guns and rifles. Leading British expert in wildcat calibres, advanced handloading, making and re-barrelling target, varmint and benchrest rifles. Maker of customised dies and custom Lee-dot type reticules.
The court handed Frenette a 21-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. His age was apparently the key mitigating factor against the maximum 5 year sentence available for possessing a firearm without a certificate. Unlike certain section 5 offences, the sentence is not mandatory. Nevertheless, the suspended prison sentence triggers an automatic ban on possessing firearms for five years.
It is unclear whether Frenette is an active BNP member or whether he is merely a supporter of the party. Various blog posts and comments dating back to the late 2000s, which UK Shooting News will not link to here, suggest that Frenette may have been either a regional organiser or a local treasurer for the party – while also suggesting he may have later resigned from the BNP. He had previously written letters to local newspapers in support of the BNP’s stance on immigration.