Appin man pleads guilty to firearms charges

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A gun collector is facing a jail term following a large-scale firearms raid at his cottage.

Robert Lockhart came to the attention of Border Force officials after they intercepted a package addressed to him last November. The parcel contained a handgun sparking a search of his home in Appin.

Police and the National Crime Agency seized more firearms and ammunition after the 50-year-old stated: ‘I’ll show you where everything is.’

Lockhart – a cruise ship engineer – appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday and pleaded guilty to a series of firearms charges. He will be sentenced next month.

The court heard Border Force seized the package at its depot in Leicestershire. It was found to hold a handgun capable of firing blanks. Officials later searched Lockhart’s home, with a total of seven handguns seized. Lockhart then admitted he had a ‘decommissioned’ shotgun in a cabinet.

Prosecutor Allan Nicol said: ‘He then led up into the attic which had been converted into a basic room with shooting targets in open view.’

Police also seized ammunition and flares. The guns were described as gas alarm pistols, made in Turkey, Germany and Italy. The court heard they were not capable of discharging bullets. The ammunition included blank and pepper spray cartridges.

Lockhart did not have the relevant firearms certificates or authority to have them.

Mr Nicol said: ‘He stated he enjoyed shooting from an early age and that he was a collector. He said he held firearms and shotguns legally for 10 years without issue.

‘He went on to say he applied for a shotgun and airgun licence, but it had been refused.’

Lockhart claimed he had the pepper spray as his chicken ‘got attacked’. He also said he had flares for using on his boat.

Police later found he had made a number of gun-related Google searches, including: ’10 months and still not receive my shotgun licence … why delays?’

It also emerged he had ordered items from a Czech-based firm called Balistas.com. The charges Lockhart pleaded guilty to included being in possession of the weapons.

Tony Lenehan, defending, told the court: ‘There is no suggestion he was up to no good. He has an interest in firearms and replicas.’

Lady Stacey remanded him in custody and deferred sentencing for reports.