Nick Parker, former headkeeper at the Holkham Estate in Norfolk, has told Shooting Times of his relief after being cleared of three wildlife crime offences and the illegal possession of a shotgun, reports Will Finch. He pleaded guilty to a fifth charge, possession of rifle ammunition in excess of that authorised on his certificate, and was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months. He said:

?Despite being misconceived from the outset, this prosecution attracted considerable media attention, appearing in a number of national newspapers. I am understandably relieved that it is to go no further and now intend to put this whole unfortunate affair behind me.?

The judge at Norwich Magistrates Court decided that most of the evidence on which the prosecution was based was such that it would have been unfair to admit it. Mr Parker?s solicitor, Tim Ryan, of Knights solicitors, said: ?An example of the difficulties the prosecution faced was that Mr Parker was charged with possession of a shotgun without a certificate, despite the fact that he had held a shotgun certificate for nearly 30 years, which was itself in the Crown?s possession and an exhibit in the case!?

Regarding the excess ammunition charge, Mr Ryan said: ?The excess ammunition arose when Mr Parker purchased rounds of a type that he was lawfully permitted to have, but over the amount he was authorised to hold; an honest mistake, but one he accepts that he should not have made and for which he has taken full responsibility.?

The rest of this article appears in 27th July issue of Shooting Times.

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