Father and son admit keeping banned weapons at Woodbridge home

Policed outside the property in Bridgewood Road, Woodbridge, last month. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police outside the property in Bridgewood Road, Woodbridge - Credit: Archant

Police who went to the home of a Woodbridge firearms dealer and his son discovered two illegal weapons and a number of badly stored shotguns, a court has heard.

The two prohibited guns – a 12 bore sawn-off shotgun and part of a British Army self-loading rifle – were in a chest of drawers and a wardrobe in bedrooms at the home of Crispin Richards, 58, and his son Philip, 24, in Bridgewood Road, Woodbridge, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

David Matthew, prosecuting, said that, although the weapons were prohibited, there was no evidence that the men had been supplying guns to criminals or had any criminal links.

Crispin and Philip Richards had denied four offences of possessing a prohibited weapon without authority and two offences of possessing a shotgun disguised as a walking stick on October 15 last year.

However, before the start of their trial on Tuesday, they each admitted one offence of possessing a prohibited weapon without authority. The remaining charges were left on the court file after David Matthew, prosecuting, said it was not necessary to have a trial.

Judge Martyn Levett adjourned sentencing until October 29 for pre-sentence reports to be prepared by the probation service.

The court heard that Crispin Richards was a registered gun dealer, allowed to trade with other dealers but not to the general public, and that his son was a  “servant” on the firearms licence. 

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Police went to their home last October as Crispin Richards' gun dealer’s certificate was due to expire at the end of the month.

In a chest of drawers, in Phillip Richards' bedroom, police found a 12 bore sawn-off shotgun made before 1904.

Mr Matthew said, although the firing pin was missing and the top lever was stuck, the gun was in working order and an expert who examined it was able to fire it.

In a wardrobe in a spare room, the officers found part of a British Army self loading rifle which would have required further parts to enable it to be fired. 

Mr Matthew said that, when the relevant parts were added in a police laboratory, the gun was able to be fired.

After the men were arrested following a search of their home last October, about 30 homes were evacuated when the bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion in a nearby field following the discovery of “unknown chemicals”.