A PENSIONER has escaped a jail sentence after having an unlicensed shotgun at his home.

Clive Michael Hurst, 65, had made a comment to his wife about the Cumbrian shooting tragedy earlier this year before the gun was found, a court was told.

Mold Crown Court heard the couple had split up in September and the gun was an antique which he had kept for sentimental reasons.

The court was told it had originally been owned by his grandfather, who had been the gamekeeper for former Prime Minister William Gladstone.

It had not been fired for years and there was no ammunition available for it.

Hurst, of Castle Street in Caergwrle, admitted possessing an unlicensed firearm after a charge of causing his wife to fear violence was dropped at an earlier hearing.

He received a 40-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

The judge ordered him to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work in the community and to pay £400 costs.

The court was told Hurst wanted to get back together with his wife but when she refused to go on holiday with him it was claimed he made a threat, and a reference to the multiple shootings by Derrick Bird around Whitehaven.

It was claimed that he told his wife Jennifer: “That fella had a gun, he had the right idea, I am going to get a gun and shoot everyone involved.”

However, he had not threatened her and she regarded it as a daft comment, and was quite sure that he did not intend to harm her or anyone else.

Myles Wilson, defending, had suggested a conditional discharge.

Mr Wilson said the gun would not have worked, there were parts missing and it had not been fired for years.

He added: “This was kept for sentimental reasons. It belonged to his grandfather who was Gladstone’s gamekeeper. There was no ammunition that could be used with it.”