TATTOO artist Nathan James Prentice ended up in court because his air rifle was too strong.

Prentice, 46, bought the air rifle at a specialist shop and used it for target practice.

But police who visited his Wrexham home on an unrelated matter seized the rifle as a precaution, said prosecutor Rhian Jackson.

Forensic examination showed it was strong enough to require a certificate under the Firearms Act.

Prentice appeared from custody at North East Wales Magistrates Court at Mold after he failed to attend an earlier hearing and a warrant was issues for his arrest.

He admitted possessing the .22 air rifle without a certificate in October of last year at his former Maelor home at Moss House, Fenns Bank.

He was fined £265 with £85 costs and a £30 surcharge and a confiscation order was made in respect of the rifle.

In interview Prentice, now of Queensway, Whitchurch, Shropshire, said he bought the rifle for £8,800 from a specialist shop.

Defence solicitor Andy Holliday said his client bought it as an ordinary air rifle and had no idea it passed the 12lb limit which meant it would need a certificate.

He had developed an interest in air weapons when he was a teenager in cadets and had handled many which did not need a certificate.

The rifle concerned did not feel any different and he had no explanation why it was more powerful and was unaware that it was until the police report.