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Firearms dealer Anthony Buckland, who helped supply some of the weapons to James Arnold, jailed for six years


07.02 EST Last modified on Friday 19 February 2016 07.04 EST

A firearms dealer who helped supply the biggest hoard of illegal weapons ever uncovered in the UK has been jailed for six years.

Police found 463 illegal firearms – including rifles, machine guns and an anti-tank missile, along with 200,000 rounds of ammunition – in a secret room at the home of crane operator and parish council chairman James Arnold, 49, in the village of Wyverstone, Suffolk.

w704.jpg?&ssl=1 Anthony Buckland has been jailed for six years for supplying a small number of the weapons to James Arnold. Photograph: Suffolk police/PA

Arnold died of cancer before he could face prosecution but gunsmith and firearms dealer Anthony Buckland, 65, of Stoke Holy Cross, Norfolk, who supplied a small number of the weapons, faced a trial late last year.

He was found guilty of 11 counts of selling a prohibited weapon and nine counts of fraud at Norwich crown court.


Jailing him on Friday, the judge, Stephen Holt, said: “When the police searched Jim Arnold’s home they found a vast collection in a secret room which could only be accessed by crawling through a safe.

“But you are to be sentenced for what the jury convicted you of and not the vast collection of firearms that Mr Arnold had. In your profession a great deal of trust had been placed in you and it is quite clear you abused that trust.”Buckland, who the court heard has serious health problems, shook uncontrollably as the sentence was passed.

w704.jpg?&ssl=1 An over and under shotgun found at the house of James Arnold. Photograph: Suffolk police/PA

As police revealed the full extent of Arnold’s haul they said the seemingly respectable parish council chairman collected firearms “like some people collect stamps”.

Three months after the discovery and his arrest in April 2014, Arnold died of pancreatic cancer, meaning he could never face prosecution. But as Buckland was jailed at Norwich crown court for supplying some of the weapons, Suffolk police opened up its armoury to journalists to highlight the scale of the haul.


Ch Supt David Skevington said: “James Arnold never offered any explanation for what he did; he simply said he had come by the weapons years ago and kept them safe to stop them causing any harm.

w704.jpg?&ssl=1 The hidden weapons room at the house of James Arnold, where part of the the biggest hoard of illegal weapons ever uncovered in the UK was found. Photograph: Suffolk police/PA

“We have asked every question and followed every line of inquiry and have found no evidence of a criminal or terrorist motive. The best explanation to date is that he was a collector and a hoarder who collected these weapons in the way some people collect stamps.”


Officers were first called to Arnold’s terraced home, which is down a single-track lane with only three other houses and a farm nearby, on 13 April 2014 to reports of an incident of domestic violence.

They had planned to revoke his licence for 17 firearms to prevent them being used in a domestic attack but when they arrived they found other illegal weapons strewn on the living-room floor.

Further investigation alerted them to the fact the internal layout of the house did not match its external footprint. A search then uncovered a hidden room, accessed through a narrow tunnel hidden behind a false wall in his pantry.


Officers spent 27 days searching the house, working meticulously with bomb disposal experts to ensure the house was not booby-trapped. The find is far larger than any other cache found in the UK.

One of the previous largest hauls is believed to have been that of 31 rifles and machine pistols found along with 1,000 rounds of ammunition on a boat at Cuxton Marina on the river Medway in Kent in August 2015.

Arnold’s house backs on to an eight-acre field, which he also owned. Around this he constructed a huge wall from railway sleepers that police believe may have been a homemade firing range.

w704.jpg?&ssl=1 A sawn-off Winchester pump action shotgun found at the house of James Arnold. Many of the guns found were described as museum pieces. Photograph: Suffolk police/PA

Arnold was a member of several shooting clubs and had an interest in firearms since childhood. He had held a firearms certificate since 1984 and was known to shoot deer and vermin.

As a condition of his licence, he was subject to regular pre-announced police checks but there had never been any cause for suspicion that would prompt an unannounced visit – until 2014, Suffolk police said.

He lived at the house with his wife and daughter, who did not comment to journalists when visited recently. Although he was chairman of the parish council at the time of the arrest and active in running the village hall, he was also described as a private man.


One resident told the Press Association: “He was involved in lots of things and lots of people knew who he was. But at the same time, you never felt like you really knew him – he never revealed very much about himself. He seemed like a nice enough man but he was a collector of almost everything; he also had odd bits around his property.”

w704.jpg?&ssl=1 An AK47 found at the house of James Arnold. Photograph: Suffolk police/PA

Experts from the National Ballistics Intelligence Service examined many of the weapons and could not find any link to known crimes.

As well as more modern military-style guns, many were described as museum pieces dating to the first and second world wars.


Arnold originally gave a no-comment interview to police. Det Supt Steve Mattin said Arnold later offered a limited explanation for the collection when interviewed in prison.

“He seemed very set on the idea he was keeping people safe by looking after these weapons,” he added.


“He certainly didn’t see himself as a danger to others. But by the time we came across him, his life seemed to be deteriorating. Of course the fear was that they could fall into the wrong hands or, given that he had terminal cancer, something might change in his life and he would have access to hundreds of deadly weapons.”

w704.jpg?&ssl=1 A Thompson submachine gun found at the house of James Arnold. Photograph: Suffolk police/PA

Buckland was only prosecuted for supplying one of the weapons but Suffolk police said a total of 16 firearms supplied by him were found at Arnold’s house.

Michael Claire, mitigating for Buckland, said: “He cannot be responsible for Mr Arnold’s collection and whatever else Mr Arnold had is a matter between him and the police.”

Many of the weapons he supplied to Arnold and other customers had been illegal firearms which he thought he had converted to make legal, he said.


“He stands before Your Honour as an utterly broken man,” Claire added. “He is broken financially, he has lost his reputation and his lifelong association with firearms is over. He will never deal in firearms again, he will never handle firearms again – and he doesn’t want to.”


Read more from The Guardian


Man had guns from every era. Spotting f*cking BARs and sh*t. But this is some next level sh*t. Guy had an AT4 rocket launcher in the yard calm - what the f*ck do you need a rocket launcher for?


It's mad to think that prior to Dunblane (what..1995?) some people could legal own guns like that. You man remember the Hungerford Massacre? UK gun nuts almost seem a thing of the past (until Manchester man bring out Glock 18s and grenades..)





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So who was his plug then???


Them kinda man there have been collecting for years.


Pre-Dunblane (1995?) you could get a lot of guns above .22 calibre openly. Before Hungerford, you could get semi-auto assault rifles and upward. There were a lot of weapons passed around by underworld collectors after the ban.




Read an article about a place in Austria I think, sells 99.9% complete gun kits (missing 1-2 vital pieces) and the owner will give the business card for a place over the border in Germany to get the other piece. Lot of people were exploiting little loopholes like this.




They gave one dude a long sentence for a similar thing, the guy was former Royal Marines I think. Something Alexander, got a life sentence stacked on another life sentence he received for something.

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lol 6 f*cking gear

Is this a f*cking wind up

Man had a f*cking rocket launcher in di utility room


wts mad









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