Yet another legitimate shooter has been wrongfully arrested after police failed properly to use information about a planned pigeon cull already logged on their telephone system.

Pest controller Graham Simmonds, owner of pest control company GS Services, was arrested while culling pigeon at a shopping centre in Havant, in Hampshire, during the early hours of 3 October.

“I was contracted by the shopping centre to cull 30 to 40 pigeon for public health reasons. As a responsible shooter, I had telephoned Hampshire police the night before to inform them that I was planning to carry out the cull and that I would have an air rifle with me.”

After an hour of shooting, three police cars and six armed police officers arrived at the scene. “The police were completely over the top, shouting and screaming at me. I was arrested for ‘being in a public place with a firearm’. Despite trying to explain to the police that I had written permission in my pocket, they refused to listen to me and just kept telling me to be quiet.”

Eventually the police found the letter of permission and Mr Simmonds was released without charge. “Unbelievably, one of the police officers told me that phoning the night before was pointless. Apparently, I should have phoned that morning, as it was a ‘different watch’ on a Saturday. They said that it was my fault that this had happened.”

Mr Simmonds added: “I found the incident very traumatic. I had notified the police to avoid anything like this happening. Where does this leave shooters now if we are told that informing the police is futile? Shooting Times’s campaign is an extremely Times’s campaign is an extremely good, long overdue idea. The police seem to think that anyone with a gun is a killer or a terrorist.”

The rest of this article appears in 14th October issue of Shooting Times.

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