Paul Bushell was found to have a massive arsenal of guns and ammunition after firefighters discovered them following a fire at his home. Mr Bushell was sentenced to five years in prison. Ian Foinette prosecuted the case at Maidstone Crown Court.

Paul Bushell kept around 160 firearms, some of which were loaded and included sub-machine guns and Russian-made AKM 47 rifles, in a basement and top floor room at his Edwardian mid-terrace house in Gillingham.

The 74-year-old former oil company supervisor was said to be fascinated with the weapons and did not have them for any criminal intent.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Bushell, the son of a firearms instructor, and his wife were at a 70th birthday lunch for a friend on May 7 2017, when they were told their house was on fire.

Prosecutor Ian Foinette said Bushell told to a friend:

“I have done something wrong. I am in a lot of trouble.” He added he needed to get away before the police got him.

“That was a reference to his knowledge that inevitably the fire brigade having gone into his house they would discover his arsenal of weapons,” said Mr Foinette.

“Indeed, approximately 160 weapons were found in the house and a considerable amount of ammunition. The counts on the indictment reflect part of what was found.”

The arsenal of guns that were found included a 9mm Luger calibre Sten Mk2 hybrid, .303 British calibre Mk1 machine gun, 7.62 x 51mm calibre Armalite AR10 rifle, 9mm Luger calibre RPB Industries M10 sub-machine gun, 9mm Luger calibre Kommando semi-automatic pistol, 7.62 x 39mm calibre AKM47 rifle and 9mm Short calibre FN 1910 semi-automatic pistol. The ammunition charges involved 136 cartridges.

Mr Foinette said firefighters dealing with the electrical blaze came across a room in the basement area where most of the guns were stored.

Sarah Dineley from the Crown Prosecution Service added:

"These weapons were not locked away and were kept loaded in a house that children visited regularly.

"The possible consequences were obvious and serious. Had the property been burgled, they could have easily fallen into the hands of criminals.

"They also posed a serious risk to the firefighters who attended the home, given the weapons were recovered from inside the fire-damaged room."

Ian Foinette has more than 25 years experience of prosecuting and defending in all types of criminal cases, from murder to thefts. Ian has experience of large-scale drugs and revenue prosecutions. His practice also includes dealing with serious offences of violence, public order, dishonesty, rape and serious sexual offences. Ian is a safe pair of hands when prosecuting or defending in criminal cases.