OAP found with gun and ammunition avoids prison term

Ian Cargill and a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver, similar to that found in Mr Cargill's home.
Ian Cargill and a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver, similar to that found in Mr Cargill's home.

A pensioner who was arrested after police found his SAS hero father’s Second World War revolver in the attic of his home has avoided a prison sentence.

Ian Cargill, 71, took possession of his dad’s Smith & Wesson .38 British service revolver following the death of his mother in 2009.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard yesterday that Mr Cargill Snr was given the weapon in 1944 or 1945 as a souvenir by grateful French Resistance fighters.

In 2015, police arrived at Cargill’s home in Gauldry, Fife, and asked to see his weapons. He was arrested and under firearms laws he faced a mandatory five-year prison sentence.

Judge Lord Woolman accepted there were exceptional circumstances in the case and fined Cargill £900.

Cargill pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and 140 rounds of ammunition illegally following proceedings at the High Court in Dunfermline last month.

During earlier proceedings, the court heard how Cargill claimed the Smith & Wesson was a war relic and was inactive.

Ballistic experts said the weapon was still capable of being fired but only to the harm of the person who was discharging it.

Cargill told defence advocate Gavin Anderson that his father was a special forces soldier during the Second World War.

He added: “He fought with the Special Air Service.

“He was parachuted behind enemy lines and helped the Resistance with their operations. He was given the gun as a souvenir by a French man.”

Cargill, a former special constable, told the court that the weapon wasn’t ever going to be used and that he had wanted to donate it to a museum.

He also told the court that he didn’t realise the weapon contravened firearms legislation.

The court heard that following his arrest, Mr Cargill had surrendered his shotgun and firearms certificates.

Lord Woolman said that sending Cargill to prison would have a severe effect on him, given his age and the fact that he is on medication.

He added: “You have a long interest in shooting. During that period you have demonstrated a responsible use of firearms.

“In my view it would be arbitrary and disproportionate to impose the minimum sentence of five years imprisonment in this case.”