A 75-year-old businessman has been fined £1,200 for possessing illegal firearms ammunition.

Michael Anthony Ashley Osborne was arrested after a cat set off an alarm at his home, prompting police to arrive and search a safe.

They then found ammunition which was not covered by his weapons certificate.

Osborne admitted two counts of the offence and accepted cautions for two other counts, which were subsequently withdrawn.

Another charge, of failing to comply with a weapons certificate was also withdrawn, as was a charge of having no vehicle licence.

Prosecuting advocate Hazel Carroon told the court that police had gone to Osborne’s home, at Ballamodha Straight in Ballasalla, on July 22, after an alarm was set off, which directly alerts the police.

Officers arrived to find a garage door open and subsequently examined ammunition which was being held in a secure safe.

Some of the ammunition was not covered by the firearms certificate which the defendant holds.

The prohibited ammunition was said to be four .500 nitro express rounds, which are rifle cartridges, and 15 pumpkin ball cartridges, used in shotguns.

Defence advocate Stephen Wood said: ‘Mr Osborne lives at a secluded address.

‘The alarm contacts the police directly.

‘Unfortunately, a cat caused the alarm to go off.  

‘Police attended and one thing led to another.’

Mr Wood said that the ammunition was in a secure safe and that his client had held a firearms trainer’s licence for 30 years.

The advocate said that the illegal ammunition had just been in a box mixed with legally held ammunition, and that the rifle capable of firing the nitro express rounds had been sold 18 months prior.

Mr Wood said that Osborne had overlooked getting rid of the ammunition.

Regarding the shotgun ammunition, the advocate said that this had dated back to the Boer war and was just in a box mixed with other ammunition which had been sitting in the safe and had never been any danger to the public.

Mr Wood said that his client was a successful businessman in the island and would never deliberately breach the conditions of his firearms licence, but that he had taken a pragmatic approach to the offences and was embarrassed to be before the court.

Deputy High Bailiff Rachael Braidwood fined the defendant £600 for each offence and also ordered him to pay £50 prosecution costs.

He agreed to pay all amounts within seven days.