Fort woman fined £400 for having air weapon without licence

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Fort William resident Daniella Hinchcliffe was fined £400 at the town’s sheriff court this week after previously pleading guilty to possessing an air rifle without a certificate.

Hinchcliffe, of Belhaven Drive, who turned 30 on the day of the court case, was not present for the sentencing due to what her defence agent said were serious health issues.

Procurator Fiscal Martina Eastwood told the court that two home care nurses visiting Hinchcliffe on August 18 last year, had noticed the weapon on open display in the living room.

‘They described it as a ‘black rifle’ when they reported it to the police,’ said Mrs Eastwood.

‘The police attended with a firearms search warrant. There was another person in the house at the time and both were very open about the air weapon and admitted it belonged to her, who told them ‘I use it for balance’.

As well as seizing the air rifle, two boxes of pellets were also removed from Hinchcliffe’s home by police.

Defence agent Hamish Melrose told the court: ‘When I visited her at home to take instructions this was the first time I’d seen her in about 10 years and I got quite a shock – she is confined to bed,’ he said.

Mr Melrose said for a long time Hinchcliffe had lived on a croft at Roy Bridge where the air rifle had been kept in a cupboard, as the crofter has a firearms licence.

‘It was a rather strange response she gave to police, but I understand she also took up archery at the croft which also helped with her balance.’

As well as fining Hinchcliffe £400, Sheriff Eilidh MacDonald ordered forfeiture of the air rifle.