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  1. ITV Report

Former mayor in court on firearms charges over WW2 pistol

A Wisbech councillor is appearing at Cambridge Crown Court charged with firearms offences after a German Second World War pistol was found at his home.

Jonathan Farmer says the gun is an antique trophy of war given to him by a former British officer but if convicted he could face five years in prison.

The Walther PPK gun from the Second World War found in the home of Jonathan Farmer Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

When the case opened the jury were asked to pass round a 70 year old German self-loading pistol marked with a Nazi Eagle, a Walther PPK found in the home of former Wisbech mayor Jonathan Farmer in January 2014.

It was wrapped in a plastic bag and kept in a cupboard on his landing. He had told police that the gun had been given to him about 25 years ago by a friend who had served as an officer during the Second World War. He said he thought it had been de-activated.

But prosecuting, Mr Michael Proctor, told the jury that it was found it to be in "excellent condition and full working order" capable of firing modern ammunition which is readily available.

Prosecutor Michael Proctor Credit: ITV News Anglia

When Jonathan Farmer took the stand on the second day of his trail he told the he believed the gun was deactivated and incapable of being fired.

Prosecuting, Michael Proctor said: "I put it to you Mr Farmer that you knew full well it was in full working order.

"You knew quite a lot about military things and you knew rather more about guns than the average man on the street."

In an exchange with Judge Hawksworth, Mr Farmer was asked: "Did it ever occur to you what would happen if a burglar got hold of that gun? To be used even as an imitation firearm?"

Jonathan Farmer replied: "No, not really."

The jury heard character references from local councils, the church and the military that Jonathan Farmer is "hard-working, conscientious and trustworthy".

The Walther PPK gun from the Second World War found in the home of Jonathan Farmer Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Handguns were outlawed in 1997 after the Dunblane tragedy but there are exemptions in the Firearms Act for antiques.

The jury has been told that they must decide whether Mr Farmer's gun was an antique. They've been warned that it's much more complicated than just how old the gun is.

Mr Farmer is currently suspended from the ruling Conservative group on Fenland District Council in Cambridgeshire.

He has pleaded not guilty and the trial continues.