David Frost
You?re not the only one to be confused – it?s a very grey area!

Until recently it was always assumed that presence meant within sight and earshot and that is what the Home Office guidance says.

However in a recent Crown Court case it was held that someone who was firing a rifle at rabbits from an upstairs window was in the presence of the owner who was in a downstairs room.

The defence case rested largely on the fact that there is a distinct difference between presence and supervision.

The case is significant insofar as it suggests that being both in sight of and earshot of the occupier is not strictly necessary, despite what the official guidance says.

It may make police forces more reluctant to prosecute for this offence in the future.

However, prosecutions have been rare, and this is the first I have been made aware of.