Firearms dealer guilty of helping Suffolk parish council chairman amass UK’s largest hoard of illegal weapons
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A firearms dealer has been found guilty of helping amass the biggest hoard of illegal weapons ever uncovered in the UK.
Police found more than 400 firearms in the home of James Arnold, 49, in the village of Wyverstone, Suffolk, as part of checks on his firearms licence in April last year.
The haul gradually came to light as officers spent six weeks searching his home, carrying out controlled explosions and discovering a secret room hidden behind a false wall in his kitchen.
Arnold, chairman of Wyverstone Parish Council, was due to face a string of firearms charges, including possessing an Uzi sub-machine gun and an AK-47 assault rifle, but died of cancer in July last year.
Anthony Buckland, 65, from Stoke Holy Cross, Norfolk, has been standing trial at Norwich Crown Court after pleading not guilty to 20 counts of selling prohibited weapons and fraud by false representation.
You may also want to watch:
A jury found him guilty of 11 counts of selling a prohibited weapons before, after further deliberations, finding him guilty of the remaining counts.
Judge Stephen Holt instructed the jury of nine men and three women that he would accept majority verdicts on the remaining counts.
- 1 How Suffolk voted in the county council elections 2021
- 2 Tories retain Suffolk County Council control - but Greens make huge gains
- 3 Poorly rated Chick King takeaway goes into liquidation
- 4 A weekend of potential departures as Town finish up their disappointing season
- 5 When Ipswich boss Cook will inform players of his contract decisions
- 6 Election 2021: Ipswich Borough Council results
- 7 'Masterpiece' modernist home with panoramic sea views for sale for £850,000
- 8 Campervan ban lifted in 12 car parks by the coast
- 9 Why Cook has given Norwood Ipswich Town's captain's armband
- 10 Police identify elderly man after incident involving young girl in village
During the trial, prosecutor Andrew Oliver told Norwich Crown Court that the discovery was the “biggest stash of weapons this country had ever experienced”.
Buckland, who looked composed as the verdicts were returned, earlier told the court he had known Arnold for more than 25 years.
He said he had legally supplied him with guns and ammunition but would never have supplied him with illegal firearms.
Asked if he ever suspected Arnold of doing anything illegal, he added: “Good heavens, no.”
But records showed he supplied 26 weapons to a man called JJ Hambrose, who the prosecution say was a fictitious character, between 2000 and 2013.
Sixteen of these weapons were found at Arnold’s house in his “hidden room”, Mr Oliver said
The charges also relate to selling weapons which had supposedly been converted to be made legal, but which were in fact prohibited.