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£40,000 gun collection arrives at Leeds Royal Armouries

A collection of valuable antique cowboy guns that are estimated to be worth around £40,000 have been given to the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

The collection includes Winchester rifles and numerous pistols were given to the museum by the police after the Wild West enthusiast who owned them went to prison to serve a five-year jail term.

48 year old licensed firearms instructor Edmund Welsh from County Durham was sentenced to a five-year minimum jail term after pleading guilty to 13 counts of possessing a firearm.

Mr Welsh had a licence to keep guns but more than a dozen of the weapons that he owned were prohibited because their barrels were less than 30cm long.

The illegal weapons were discovered when Welsh ordered new parts for his antique weapons from a manufacturer in the USA.

Judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court refused to reduce his jail term.

Welsh had been making his own ammunition for the guns and had built a make shift “shooting gallery” in his back garden.

The guns were not securely displayed in his home when they should be locked in a gun cabinet.

A police firearms expert told the court that Welsh was a “harmless enthusiast”.

Mr Justice King said: “He knew and understood the law – he could not consider himself above the law.

“This was a deliberate and prolonged breach of the law.

“There was recklessness about the way he handled his collection.

“Anybody who broke into his house would have access to a huge cache of lethal weapons.”

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