Dale Barnard of Winteringham refused to accept a police caution, had his shotguns confiscated and was summonsed to court for shooting too close to the public highway.

Prosecutors decided to offer no evidence against Mr Barnard at a pre-trial hearing at Scunthorpe Magistrate?s Court on September 24 at the urging of Judge Daniel Curtis.

Stephen Ede of Bridge McFarland Solicitors, representing Mr Barnard, said: ?After refusing to accept a caution, Mr Barnard was summonsed for an offence contrary to the 1980 Highways Act, which prohibits shooting within 50 feet of a road. However, the act makes it clear that an offence is only committed if someone is injured or put in danger. That did not happen in this case.?

Section 161 of the Highways Act states: ?If a person without lawful authority or excuse discharges any firearm within 50 feet of the centre of such a highway, and in consequence a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine.?

The judge awarded Mr Barnard full costs and ordered the police to return his guns.

Mr Barnard said he was delighted that the case 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.?

Matt Perring, BASC?s firearms officer, said: ?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 country laws, but worse to find that the CPS took the case forward.?