A controversial court case against a Lincolnshire pigeon shooter has been abandoned after a judge questioned whether it was in the public interest.
Dale Barnard (pictured), of Winteringham, had his shotguns confiscated by police and was later summonsed for shooting too close to the highway (News, 19 August).
However, prosecutors decided to offer no evidence against Mr Barnard after Judge Daniel Curtis, sitting in a pre-trial hearing at Scunthorpe Magistrate?s Court on 24 September, urged them to think again about the case.
Mr Barnard?s lawyer, Stephen Ede of Bridge McFarland Solicitors said: ?After refusing to accept a caution, Mr Barnard was summonsed for an offence contrary to the 1980 Highways Act, which prohibits shooting within 50ft of a road. However, the act makes it clear that an offence is only committed if someone is injured, interrupted or put in danger and that did not happen in this case.?
Mr Barnard was awarded full costs and the judge ordered the police to return his guns.
Mr Barnard said he was delighted the case against him had been dropped, but was shocked by the way he had been treated by the police.
?They did not show me that they respect or understand sporting shooters. I got the impression that the officer involved did not like shooting.?
BASC?s firearms officer, Matt Perring, said: ?When I took Mr Bernard?s call, I could not believe how far this matter had progressed. It is shocking enough to see how little some police officers know of firearms and law in the countryside, but worse to find that the Crown Prosecution Service took the case forward.?