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Wyverstone: Massive arms’ haul leaves Suffolk Constabulary with £160,000 overtime bill

PUBLISHED: 08:30 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 08:39 11 August 2014

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

A police operation which led to the discovery of one of the country’s largest-ever arms hauls is likely to cost £160,000 in officers’ overtime payments, according to official figures.

Officers spent nearly four weeks searching the property of the-then Wyverstone Parish Council Chairman and village stalwart James Arnold.

Police have not revealed the exactly what was found at his Potash Lane home. However they did say a ‘significant’ number of weapons were discovered.

In addition to the cache of firearms, which is understood to run into three figures, a large amount of ammunition was found, as well as explosives.

The prosecution against Mr Arnold was discontinued at Ipswich Crown Court last month after he died on July 14 while remanded in custody. The 49-year-old had been suffering from terminal cancer.

However, the inquiry is continuing.

A 63-year-old Norfolk man is currently on police bail on suspicion of selling/transferring a firearm to a person without a certificate in relation to Mr Arnold’s case.

A financial report for Wednesday’s Suffolk Constabulary Accountability and Performance Panel meeting states the cash-strapped force has a £190,000 underspend in its revenue budget.

This was due to police pay which was £350,000 less than expected and staff pay which was £200,000 less than expected.

However, there was an overspend totalling £200,000 on premises, supplies and services. A further £160,000 overspend on overtime due to Operation Cannington – the Wyverstone inquiry – is also forecast.

Officers began searching the property on April 13 and finished on May 8.

For a large part of that time police had a 24-hour presence at the property, which also has a four-acre field.

Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “In order to recover all weapons, gather evidence and ensure public safety whilst all weapons were recovered specialist-trained search officers remained at the address for approximately four weeks together with officers on scene management.

“The overtime spend for this period was approximately £160,000.

“As proceedings are still active in this case and the investigation continues we are unable to release any further information until after the investigation concludes.”

Mr Arnold had been accused of possessing prohibited an Uzi machine gun, an AK47 assault rifle, a bolt action shotgun and a self-loading rifled gun. More charges were likely to have been laid as the case progressed.

Specialist teams, with the assistance of officers from the Metropolitan Police, searched Mr Arnold’s property. Ministry of Defence personnel were also at the site.

A number of controlled explosions were carried out as a precautionary measure.

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