Gun enthusiast with love of westerns jailed for hidden arsenal

The High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
The High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
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A disgraced former Merchant Navy sailor with a fascination for guns who was caught with an arsenal of weapons hidden at his remote Highland home was yesterday jailed for four years.

Fifty-year-old Robert Lockhart’s home in Appin, Argyll, was raided last November after Border Force officials intercepted a package addressed to him containing a handgun.

Police and the National Crime Agency seized six more handguns, a shotgun and ammunition.

Defence counsel Tony Lenehan said: “He has a fascination with guns. He would sit on a Saturday watching westerns with guns at his side, which perhaps is childlike.”

Lockhart, a cruise ship engineer, who also served for many years in the Merchant Navy, pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to a series of firearms charges.

Jailing him, Judge Lady Stacey said: “What the police found was the guns, none of which was capable of being fired, but which could be modified, and some ammunition, some blank and some not.

“I have no information why you had these other than a fascination with guns. These guns were not kept securely. You showed the police the arsenal you had.

“I have to take a serious view of this. Such weapons unmodified can be used to frighten people and modified they can be used to kill and they may be stolen by other people.

“Gun control is an important matter and you have blatantly breached it.”

The court heard Border Force seized the package containing the handgun.

Officials later swooped on Lockhart’s cottage. A total of seven handguns were seized. Lockhart then admitted he had a “de-commissioned” shotgun in a cabinet.

Prosecutor Allan Nicol said: “He then led them up into the attic which had been converted into a basic room with shooting targets in open view.”

Police also seized ammunition and flares.

Mr Nicol said: “He stated he enjoyed shooting from an early age and that he was a collector. He said he held firearms and shotguns legally for ten years without issue. He went on to say he applied for a shotgun and airgun licence in 2017, but it had been refused.”

Lockhart claimed he had the flares for using on his boat.

Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Naysmith said: “There is a perception that organised firearms crime is an urban issue but Lockhart’s conviction shows that offending of this nature will not be tolerated, wherever you are in the country.”