A WREXHAM hunter has been fined after he was spotted brandishing a gun on a canal towpath near Llangollen.

Steven Anthony Wright, 52, of Bodlyn, of Plas Madoc, was appearing at Mold Magistrates Court, after being found guilty of two charges of possessing an offensive weapon in public at a trial on November 29.

Rhian Jones, prosecuting, told the court how former soldier Wright, had been spotted by several members of the public, including an off duty police officer, on June 20 this year. The off duty cop had been cycling along the canal pathway away from Llangollen and was nearby the Sun Trefor pub when she noticed a man holding a rifle, peering through the scope. As she cycled passed him, the man crouched down and looked like he was pretending to clean the sight on the gun, so she decided to call to police.

Ms Jones went on to say how several friends passing the scene on a canal boat also noticed Wright holding the weapon and pointing it, while other members of the public who had approached him and asked what he was up to, had been told how how he was “out shooting rabbits and squirrels” and had permission from the land owner to do so.

Police found Wright by a bus stop on the A538 and upon carrying out a search, found the air rifle, while an additional search of a backpack uncovered a gas powered revolver. Despite police also finding a Stanley knife in the backpack, a third charge for possessing an offensive weapon was later dropped when Wright told them how this knife was used to skin rabbits.

Laura Preston-Hayes, defending, told the court how her client had been medically discharged from the Army many years ago and had spent many years shooting rabbits and was effectively making a living as a hunter.

Magistrates fined him £120 and ordered him to pay costs totalling £650, but they declined the prosecution’s application to order the destruction of the guns.