Gun owner feared arsenal 'could be used to shoot someone'

Lancashire Gun Room in Halliwell Road. Picture from Google Maps.

Lancashire Gun Room in Halliwell Road. Picture from Google Maps.

First published in News
Last updated

A PENSIONER who claims he was conned out of his illegally-held arsenal of weapons has told a court he feared they would be used to shoot someone.

Frank Rushton was so worried he penned an anonymous letter to police.

The 84-year-old wanted to get rid of his collection of 34 handguns, shotguns and rifles because he was concerned his mentally ill son would get hold of them.

He was also worried he would get in trouble with police after the law changed to make it difficult for people to legally own handguns.

Bolton Crown Court heard Mr Rushton took the weapons to The Lancashire Gunroom in Halliwell Road, Halliwell, where he asked Cyrus Shahabi-Shack to register the weapons so they could be sold legally.

He left them in a secure case, which only he had the key to.

But shortly after leaving them in the summer of 2010, he discovered the case had been smashed open.

It is alleged that the guns were sold on to the criminal underworld.

The court heard Mr Rushton was told by Shahabi-Shack, aged 57, of Lever Park Avenue, Horwich, that the weapons had been taken during a police raid.

He warned Mr Rushton not to come near the store, the court heard yesterday.

Mr Rushton said: “I realised I could have made a mistake as someone had broken the lock — I thought it was bad news.”

When Henry Blackshaw, prosecuting, asked Mr Rushton how he felt after he heard the store had been raided, he said: “I felt faint. Cyrus said ‘I will protect your name, I won’t mention knowing about you but don’t come near the shop. It was a major incident with helicopters up’.

“A week or so went by and the shop was still open.

“It didn’t add up.”

Mr Rushton talked to Shahabi-Shack’s estranged wife Jacqueline and she said he told her he had guns the police did not know about.

The pensioner said: “I can’t have an acquaintance of mine being shot with something I have given or something they (the shop) has taken off me.”

He said he feared the weapons had not be taken by police and wrote an anonymous letter to Greater Manchester Police’s firearms officers more than a year later asking whether a raid and taken place.

Mr Rushton said: “I couldn’t really go into the police station and say I have 34 illegal guns — I would have been putting my neck in a noose.

“I thought there must be a slim chance the police must have them. It consoled me.”

Shahabi-Shack, aged 57, and Louis Larsson, aged 28, of Fossgill Avenue, Bradshaw, both deny three counts of conspiracy to possess firearms.

In addition Shahabi-Shack denies possessing an illegal firearm.

The case continues.

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