The FEO was accompanied by a policeman dressed in a flak jacket with all the accoutrements, which I found quite intimidating.

Two months later they came back and told me I would have to dispose of my guns straightaway so we went to a dealer I know.

The policeman said there was no point in appealing against the refusal as it would cost a lot of money and I would lose.

The dealer has sold one of the guns and I used the money to pay a local solicitor for advice.

David Frost
There are several points here. First, you have not been well treated by the police – sending a policeman along with the FEO looks to me like intimidation.

It?s up to the court to decide whether an appeal will be successful, not the police ? they only do that sort of thing in dictatorships.

The letter they sent you gives few details of why they refused the certificate and accusing somebody who has held a certificate for many years of being a threat to public safety or the peace is a serious and possibly defamatory act.

Good practice, though not the law, requires that when a certificate is refused or revoked the licensing manager should personally explain the reason to the holder.

This has not happened and you should ask for a meeting with the manager and a full explanation.

Failure to agree to a meeting would count against the police if you go to court.

You tell me you allowed your BASC membership to lapse last year.

I have frequently said in this column that anyone holding a shotgun should belong to one of the shooting organisations.

The administration of firearms licensing in this country is so poor overall that you never know when you might need the specialist advice offered by all the main shooting organisations.

Nor is going to a local solicitor for advice a good idea.

Few have any specialist knowledge of firearms law and may well give you poor advice, as happened in your case.

I have given you the name of a solicitor who specialises in firearms law and who will be able to give you good advice based on wide experience.