Gun collector loses fight to keep 350 weapons at his home
10:00am Thursday 5th July 2012 in News
A 67-YEAR-OLD antique gun collector yesterday remained defiant after losing a fight to keep his 350 shotguns at home.
Headington property owner Martin Young yesterday lost an appeal against the decision to ban him from getting his gun licence back.
The Headington Hill resident has been involved in a long dispute with Oxford City Council over his rundown house in Old High Street, Headington.
Police seized his guns and revoked his licence in 2008 after he told council officer Melanie Mutch over the phone: “I am armed, blood will be spilt.”
He pleaded guilty to a public order offence and waited before his two-year conditional discharge was over before reapplying for the licence.
But at Oxford Crown Court yesterday, Recorder Patrick Hamlin dismissed his appeal against Thames Valley Police’s decision not to return the licence. In his judgment, Mr Hamlin said Mr Young’s issues with the council were still “unresolved”.
He said he did not think “Mr Young has the required stable, sensible and proportionate approach to the responsibilities required of a certificate holder.”
But last night Mr Young said: “I am not a bad man. I am a good man.”
Mr Young has held the licence most of his life but said he had not fired a gun for more than 20 years.
And last night he said he had made the comments to Ms Mutch under the pressure of looking after his severely ill mother – who died in December 2009.
He said: “I made one mistake under extreme stress when looking after my mother 24/7.
“I snapped and I said things I shouldn’t have done.”
He said the failure of the appeal was a “temporary setback” and when asked if he was confident he would get his licence back he said: “If justice is to prevail, yes.”
But he said he would now focus on settling the dispute with the city council before reapplying for the licence.
He is currently appealing against the council’s decision to block his plan to knock down the house and build five three-storey homes.
A decision will be made by an independent planning inspector in August but meanwhile he is also preparing an application to extend the house. If either application is approved he plans to sell the site to a developer.
But he said he would sell the house before applying for his licence again.
He said: “I am trying my hardest to move on.
“I am desperately trying to sort that all out but it all takes time and I am a one-man band.”
Mr Young said his licence appeal, including the £4,500 in costs he was yesterday ordered to pay to Thames Valley Police, had cost him £10,000.
He believes his collection, dating back to the late 18th century, is likely to be one of the biggest in the country.
It has been in storage at St Aldate’s Police Station in Oxford since 2008.
Mr Young now has 30 days to arrange for the weapons to be moved before the police can sell them at auction.
Police have valued the collection at £65,000 but Mr Young said it was worth £350,000.
He said: “We are not talking peanuts. It’s a life’s work.”