Nigel Doney: Devon & Cornwall gun grab case study

by Deborah Hadfield and Charlie Jacoby 

Nigel Doney from Cornwall has been shooting for 40 years. He had an unexpected police visit after he sold one of his guns. Nigel says that officers took his remaining gun because he couldn’t produce his certificate. It was away being processed by the police.

He is the latest victim of a crackdown on gun ownership in the South-West.

Armed police knocking on doors, in the dark, in order to seize guns in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall is becoming an all-too-common story.

The shooters feel the police are punishing them, as a knee jerk reaction to a shooting in Plymouth last August. Jake Davison, who had a shotgun certificate, killed five people in Keyham in six-minutes before turning his shotgun on himself.

Nigel says: “I was absolutely gutted because it messed up all my plans for this month as we were supposed to be going away stalking with a friend in Cambridgeshire.

“I’m just concerned for what reason they took it. That’s what confused me as I haven’t done anything wrong, and I haven’t been involved with anything.”

Cornish gun shop Ian Hodge Fieldsports purchased Nigel’s gun. Owner Ian Hodge says: “We’ve noticed since Christmas a dramatic increase in new customers phoning up randomly saying my guns are going to be taken away. The police have been banging on the door wanting to take my guns away, seemingly for no real reason. Maybe for something that happened 10 or 15 years ago.’

The Independent Office for Police Conduct issued two disciplinary notices to Devon & Cornwall Constabulary staff for issuing the mass-murderer with a shotgun certificate. Now, shooters believe that police are taking it out on them.

The gun seizures are having an effect on Ian’s business. He says: “It’s getting ridiculous now. We can hardly take any more guns in. We’re holding guns while their [owners are] appealing. Some people just want to give up. As an industry we are losing a tremendous amount of people, which does make you wonder if there is an ulterior motive.”

Ian says as well as problems such as Nigel’s, the police action is making country people nervous. He says: “Normally, people come in to look at a rifle and say I’ll get a variation to get that. Then they realise it’s going to take anything from six weeks to six months, so they leave it. So, we’ve lost a sale.

“Shotgun licences are taking a long time and people are getting fed up waiting. It’s just not correct. Something needs to be done.”

Nigel Doney at the British Shooting Show 2022
More of our Devon & Cornwall police gun grab coverage:​

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