A Beretta shotgun was stolen from a London street after its owner allegedly left it unattended while unloading a car.
According to a Met Police press release copied by the Press Association and reproduced by Sky News, the 12-bore over-and-under Beretta 687 EELL was left outside a building in Langthorne Street, Fulham, west London, at about 7.30pm last Thursday (28th April). The gun was in a brown leather case.
A man passing by is said to have picked it up and asked who the owner was before making off with it.
The gun was described in the police press release as being “tatty” and having “rose-style engraving” on the “handle”. This description could mean a number of things and doesn’t actually help identify the particular gun in question.
No details of the missing gun’s serial number were made available in the press release, though police saw fit to describe it as “powerful”.
Police appealed for whoever had picked up the shotgun to contact them “so its recovery can be arranged.”
No details of any action taken against the owner were made clear in the press release either.
Failing to store your guns correctly is a breach of certificate conditions. Breach of conditions carries a penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment or a fine of level 5 on the standard scale, i.e. £5,000.
The Crown Prosecution Service website says: “Usually, offences contrary to sections 1 and 2 Firearms Act will be suitable for summary trial, where there has been a technical, inadvertent or minor breach of licence conditions or where the firearm has remained on private property.”
The CPS position is clear. Accidental breaches of certificate conditions can and will result in prosecution.
UKSN’s author hopes the SGC holder will only face a fine at worst. Imprisonment is harsh; revocation would also be harsh, given that this is the sort of mistake no certificate holder would ever repeat again after such an episode. Sadly, though, revocation is probably inevitable, particularly as it allows police to punish a certificate holder without seeing the inside of a court.