5 Jan 2016 – A well-known registered firearms dealer was found guilty in December of possessing and selling prohibited weapons, as well as nine counts of fraud.
Anthony Buckland, 65, of Mill Road, Stoke Holy Cross, near Norwich, stood accused of 20 offences: 10 counts of selling a prohibited weapon, one of possession of a prohibited weapon (disguised firearm); and nine counts of fraud by false representation.
A jury at Norwich Crown Court found him guilty of all counts on Friday 18th December. He was released on bail and will be sentenced on 21st January.
In 2014 police were called to a house in Potash Road, Wyverstone, after reports of an assault. After arresting local parish council chairman James Arnold, who lived there, they searched his home – and discovered 400 weapons. He held an FAC but many of the firearms were not licensed.
Arnold died from cancer before he could be brought to trial.
Further police enquiries linked the firearms found in Arnold’s home to Buckland, who was subsequently raided. Examination of his RFD registers showed 26 firearms that were sold to one “JJ Hambrose”, who police later realised did not exist. 16 of those firearms were found in Arnold’s home.
Police photographs obtained by the Eastern Daily Press show some of the firearms found, which appear to include at least two .22″ target rifles.
Buckland had traded as a gunsmith and RFD under the name AR Buckland since the 1980s. Among his notable products were straight pull L1A1 rifles, converted from the original semi-automatic British military issue firearms and chambered in 7.62mm NATO.
An odd paragraph in the police press release read:
The nine counts of fraud relate to the fact that Buckland sold firearms banned from private ownership (such as automatic or semi-automatic weapons), to buyers who were led to believe they were single shot firearms allowed to be legally owned by people with the appropriate licence.
This suggests that some of Buckland’s straight-pull rifles may have been deemed to be illegal after his arrest and confiscated by police from owners who bought them in good faith.
UK Shooting News may seek out further details on this point if there is a public appetite to do so.