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ESTD 1874 Search

Wyverstone: Explosives also found among huge arms’ haul on parish council chairman’s property

10:28 28 July 2014

Police during the search at Wyverstone

Police during the search at Wyverstone

Explosives were also found at a Suffolk parish council chairman’s home in what is understood to be one of the country’s largest ever arms’ hauls, police have confirmed.

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Officers have declined to go into specifics about the volume of firearms and ammunition which were seized at the home of James Arnold in Wyverstone, near Stowmarket.

They have also said they would not elaborate on the type or number of explosives.

However, Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary confirmed they were also found on the 49-year-old village stalwart’s property in Potash Lane.

As investigations are still ongoing Mrs Miller said no further details would be given at this stage.

The inquiry is being overseen by Suffolk and Norfolk’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

It understood the number of weapons alone, including automatic firearms, runs into three figures.

The haul was found during a four-week search of Mr Arnold’s home and the land around it which began in April.

Officers also found a vast amount of ammunition and several controlled explosions were carried out at the property.

The Metropolitan Police, Ministry of Defence and other law enforcement agencies were called in during the search.

Mr Arnold had been due to appear before Ipswich Crown Court last Friday. But the case was discontinued three days earlier after Mr Arnold died on July 14 while remanded in custody.

He had been suffering from terminal cancer when he was arrested in April.

Originally Mr Arnold was charged with only four firearms offences. However, it is understood more allegations would have been laid against him as the case progressed.

The original allegations related to possessing an Uzi machine gun, an AK47 assault rifle, a bolt action shotgun and a self-loading rifle gun.

In April police said the search of Mr Arnold’s cottage and its four acres of land had yielded a ‘significant’ number of weapons.

The inquiry came as a shock to those who knew Mr Arnold, who was a licensed shotgun holder.

Villagers have spoken of their surprise that a man so highly regarded had been accused of the offences he was charged with.

Shortly after Mr Arnold’s arrest Eddie Gale, vice chairman of Wyverstone Village Hall, said: “I still find it hard to believe he’s involved in anything serious.”

Mr Arnold’s funeral is due to take place in Wyverstone on Wednesday.

Donations can be made to Macmillan Unit at West Suffolk Hospital or Cancer Research UK c/o Meredith Greengrass Funeral Service, 9 Marriotts Walk, Stowmarket, IP14 1AF.

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