Established in 1790, Webley of Willenhall, West Midlands, went into administration on 31 December 2008. Mike Hurney of Webley (International) Ltd said: “This was a result of the severe downturn in business caused first by the effects of the 2007 Violent Crime Reduction Act and more recently by the dramatic collapse of retail spending.

All of us have seen the headlines regarding the failure of Woolworths, MFI, Zavvi, Adams and other retailers over the recent weeks. Webley’s customers, the gun retailers, have also suffered badly.”

Mr Hurney added he did not want to see Webley fail: “If business can be continued in a slimmed down form, it should be possible to rebuild this great brand to a level that is a true reflection of its iconic place in the history of the gunmaking industry.”

Mr Hurney went on to reassure clients: “Our new company will be honouring, in full, all warranties on all products supplied by the company formerly known as Webley Ltd, but will not be taking on any of its other obligations. In 2010, Webley will be 220 years old and it will be 100 years since it filed its first airgun-related patent. I am totally determined that we will be around, stronger and fitter, to ensure the shooting community worldwide celebrates these amazing anniversaries with us.”

Reacting to the news, the Gun Trade Association’s John Batley told Shooting Times: “We are sad to hear this as the company has now changed hands twice in recent years. The most important issue for the trade and the customers, is the confirmation that Webley (International) Ltd will honour all product warranties and that it will continue with the highly regarded name into the future.”

The rest of this article appears in 15 January issue of Shooting Times.

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