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Gun collector behind bars after large-scale firearms raid

Robert Lockhart
Robert Lockhart

A gun collector is behind bars after a large-scale firearms raid at his Argyll cottage.

Robert Lockhart was snared last November after Border Force officials intercepted a package addressed to him.

The parcel contained a handgun – and the find sparked a search of his home in Appin.

Police and the National Crime Agency seized more firearms and ammunition after the 50-year-old stated: “I’ll show you where everything is”.

Lockhart – a cruise ship engineer –  appeared at the High Court in Glasgow.

He faces a lengthy jail-term after pleading guilty to a series of firearms charges.

Lockhart will be sentenced next month.

one of the firearms recovered from Lockhart’s property.

The court heard Border Force seized the package at its depot in Leicestershire.

It was found to hold a handgun capable of firing blanks.

Officials later swooped on the cottage where Lockhart lived with his partner Carol Anne Stirling.

A total of seven handguns were seized. Lockhart then admitted he had a “de-commissioned” shotgun in a cabinet.

Prosecutor Allan Nicol said: “He then led up into the attic which had been converted into a basic room with shooting targets in open view.”

Police also seized ammunition and flares.

The guns were described as “gas alarm pistols” made in Turkey, Germany and Italy.

The court heard they not capable of “discharging” bullets.

The ammunition included blank and pepper spray cartridges.

Lockhart did not have the relevant firearms certificates or authority to have them.

He was quizzed by police and said his partner had “nothing to do with this”.

Mr Nicol said: “He stated he enjoyed shooting from an early age and that he was a collector.

“He said he held firearms and shotguns legally for 10 years without issue.

“He went on to say he applied for a shotgun and airgun licence, but it had been refused.”

Lockhart claimed he had the pepper spray as his chicken “got attacked”.

He also said he had flares for using on his boat.

Police later found he had made a number of gun-related Google searches.

These included: “10 months and still not receive my shotgun licence…why delays?”

It also emerged he had ordered items from a Czech-based firm called Balistas.com.

The charges Lockhart pled guilty to included being in possession of the weapons.

Tony Lenehan, defending, told the court: “There is no suggestion that he was up to no good. He has an interest in firearms and replicas.”

Lady Stacey remanded him in custody and deferred sentencing for reports.

Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Naysmith said: “Robert Lockhart attempted to bypass the law by bringing dangerous firearms into this country.

“The combined expertise of officers from Police Scotland and the National Crime Agency allowed for a thorough and efficient investigation leading to his arrest and now his conviction.

“There is a perception that organised crime is an urban issue but Lockhart’s conviction shows that offending of this nature will not be tolerated, wherever you are in the country.

“The OCP(S) provides increased capability to both the NCA and Police Scotland to combat organised crime and bring offenders to justice.”

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