Court for councillor over firearms charge

A FORMER chairman of Tendring District Council has been charged with firearm offences and will appear in court next month.

Peter De-Vaux Balbirnie is the subject of a fraud and corruption allegation in relation to alleged financial irregularities at the council.

The 65-year-old yesterday had his bail extended until December over accusations of money laundering and corruption.

But Balbirnie, who represents the Little Clacton and Weeley ward on Tendring District Council (TDC), has now been charged with possession of a firearm without certificate and a second count of possessing ammunition without a certificate of firearm.

The well-known politician from Great Bentley was granted bail before an appearance at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on September 8.

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Balbirnie, who was this year given an MBE for services to the community, last night said he was confident the corruption allegation would be dropped.

His solicitor Dennis Brown, speaking on behalf of Balbirnie, suggested the allegations had been politically motivated and said his client would deny the charges when they are put to him at court.

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He said: “Why has it taken 15 months to decide to charge a man for having one round of ammunition and a silencer?

“He has got a licence for ammunition and has a licence for his gun – this was about one round of ammunition which was different to the others and a silencer.

“If I was CPS and I saw this, I would say ‘I hope you are having a laugh’?

“They took this stuff from his house last June – why has it taken so long to charge him with these two items?

“He will go not guilty, it will go to crown court. This is just a complete waste of public money.”

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “A 65-year-old man has been charged and bailed for two firearms offences.

“He has been charged with possession of a firearm without certificate and possession of ammunition without certificate of firearm and has been bailed to appear before Chelmsford magistrates on September 8.”

Balbirnie was first arrested last June over an allegation of financial irregularities at the council and the investigation is centred around historical offences.

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