The return of an 82-year-old man’s guns and shotgun certificate by Surrey Police last summer has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after two women and four dogs were found shot dead at his house near Farnham in Surrey on 23 February.

John Lowe’s licence and shotguns were removed from his home by police in May 2013, but were returned in July. He was charged on 25 February with two counts of murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

A BASC spokesman said: “It appears that there are questions to be answered by the police surrounding the seizure and return of firearms. Those questions will be addressed by the IPCC investigation and by other processes including the courts and judicial system.”