Row over gun licence case

Geoffrey Pickering outside court.

Geoffrey Pickering outside court.

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A DEEP sea diver landed himself in hot water after a feud over a shotgun licence erupted in a pub.

Clay pigeon shooter Geoffrey Pickering had his licence revoked after a complaint was made to the police, saying he had threatened someone with it.

The 39-year-old, from Cleadon, battled the decision in court and won an appeal to have it reinstated – which cost him £5,000.

Pickering found out the person who made the complaint was a fellow Cleadon resident who he had fallen out with previously, and when he saw him in The Britannia pub, demanded he cover the court costs.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how Pickering had to be pulled away from the victim after launching into a tirade of abuse, and warning him that “he was in trouble and should be worried”.

He pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour to cause alarm – a public order offence.

John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “The victim was in the Britannia at about 8pm with friends when the defendant came in.

“He told him he was in trouble and should be worried, and said he owed him £5,000.

“He had to be restrained by the victim’s friends and was taken outside the pub.”

Mr McGlone added that when Pickering, of Sunniside Lane, was arrested, he told police he was out of order for the way he behaved.

Magistrates were handed character references from four people – including a former judge – about Pickering, who had no previous convictions.

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, told the court that there had been “difficulties” between his client and the victim for some time.

He said: “Police understandably followed the complaint up, and took the gun and certificate from him. The defendant tried to find out what was going on, and on appeal, got the licence back, but he finished up paying £5,000, and it was all because of the complainant in this case.

“In April, he went into the pub and saw him – he didn’t go looking for him. He told him what he thought of him, and verbally lost control.”

Chairman of the bench, Dave Errington, said: “It’s always sad to see someone with good character in court for the first time.

“There will be incidents in pubs across the country every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights where the people don’t end up in court – unfortunately, you are here.”

Pickering was given an absolute discharge and ordered to pay £100 costs.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho