Tragic dad could face jail over cannabis farm weapons find

First published in News

THE tragic dad of a two-year-old girl crushed to death by a TV is facing jail after uncovering a buried cache of drug dealers’ weapons behind his home, a court heard.

A cannabis farm on land behind Peter Lyle’s home was raided by North Yorkshire Police, who recovered a number of guns.

But a home-made sniper rifle and more than 100 rounds of military grade “dum dum” bullets were missed until Lyle found them in a hidden pit while out hunting.

The 39-year-old gun enthusiast intended to hand them to authorities but became curious and fired some of the hollow point expanding bullets to test the gun, said Marcus Topham, mitigating.

Scarborough Magistrates heard Mr Lyle held a firearms certificate and had permission to shoot vermin on the land.

Mr Topham said there was a large house set in 50 acres behind his home which was used by a gang from Manchester as a large cannabis farm some years before.

“He has been a keen hunting man for a great part of his life," he added. "He found the firearm in quite shallow earth while hunting with his dogs.

“He took the gun back home because he is a keen gun owner. His intention was to hand it in because it would jeopardise his own firearms but never got around to it.”

Katie Varlow, prosecuting, said the weapon was found a few years before police executed a warrant at Mr Lyle’s home relating to firearms in April.

It was crudely welded together using parts from different weapons to convert it from a shotgun to .22 rifle and was fitted with a large optical sight.

She added the police officer who examined the weapon “had never seen anything like it before.”

“There was a cartridge still in the barrel and it had been fired at some point.”

Lyle, of The Granary, Great Habton, near Malton, admitted three firearms offences involving the possession of the rifle and the bullets.

Magistrates declined jurisdiction and Lyle was bailed to appear at York Crown Court for sentence on July 7 for the offences - which carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

Mr Topham said Lyle’s judgement had been affected by a number of family tragedies including the death of one of his two daughters.

An inquest heard last month that 23-month-old Lucy Lyle died when she pulled a TV set down on top of herself while watching Barney on Cbeebies with her sister at the family’s previous home in Beverley Road, Norton, North Yorkshire.

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