Police offer compensation to gun grab victim

by Deborah Hadfield and Charlie Jacoby 

Many shooters have lost their guns to police in the South-West of England since the shooting in Plymouth in August last year. Some are appealing and fighting to get their firearms back. For Peter Cook from Ashton in Cornwall, it’s too late as police admit they have destroyed his shotgun.

The fisherman has been shooting since he was a child with his grandfather and father. Peter has fond memories of shooting with the gun which was passed down from his grandfather to his father, then to him. Four years ago, when he got divorced he was asked to surrender it to the Cambourne police station. Peter was advised he didn’t need a special cover to carry it on the street. When he carried the single barrel .410 to the station it was closed. He found off-duty police offer and insisted he take the gun. Since then, Peter has been trying to get the family heirloom back.

Peter was upset when Devon & Cornwall Constabulary told him they had destroyed it. The police apologised and offered him compensation. Peter says: “It’s absolutely terrible. I think it’s ridiculous under the circumstances. They don’t even seem to know what they’ve done or why they’ve done it or who authorised it. They’ve offered me £200.”

Even if £200 is nowhere near the guns value to Peter, this is the first indication that Devon & Cornwall Constabulary is prepared to offer compensation for confiscated guns. The bill to the taxpayer is likely to run into hundreds of thousands, with a similar amount from the police budget or legal costs.

Peter is sad that Devon & Cornwall police have made him such a low offer as he has spent more than £200 in postage costs. He knows he can never replace his family gun. Peter is determined to push for more compensation now the police have apologised he wants them to make him a fair offer. He says: “I put in a claim for £5,000, which may be a bit over the top, but I don’t know how you a value on something like that. And I just didn’t want the money I just wanted my property returned to me.”

Many other shooters have a fight on their hands to get the police to return their guns or have licences reinstated. Field Sports Channel will be following the appeals at courts in Devon and Cornwall.

More of our Devon & Cornwall police gun grab coverage:​​

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