A DISGRACED former PC said he openly sold guns from a police station, watched by inspectors.

Maurice Allen told the BBC he had transferred guns at Stanley police station, in County Durham, while inspectors walked past, and said he was never asked what he was doing.

He said: “Everyone knew it was going on.”

Allen, 48, and Damian Cobain, 42, were given suspended jail sentences at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday after they admitted misconduct in a public office.

Judge David Hodson criticised Durham Police’s gun licensing as “extremely lax, if not chaotic”.

In an interview with the BBC recorded before Friday’s hearing and broadcast last night, Allen said: “No one ever told me I was doing wrong. If somebody at one stage had ever said to me: ‘You can’t do that, that is wrong’, I would have ceased.

“I have emailed headquarters throughout everything.

My paperwork was very transparent.

I never hid anything.”

Allen, of Houghton-le- Spring, Wearside, was said to have made about £2,000.

His crimes came to light folowing a burglary in Edmundbyers, near Consett, when a rifle owner told police he bought it in a deal brokered by Allen.

Allen, who was treasurer of Leamside Clay and Game Club, based near Durham City, said he had ruined his life and good name and had tried to commit suicide.

He said he accepted he had breached trust and should be punished, but that the punishment far outweighed what he did.

Mike Barton, the deputy chief constable of Durham Police, said: “We have since reviewed our systems to make sure that people do act with integrity.

“It is not our finest hour, is it? I am deeply disappointed – even angry – that we have not done our job right. We are doing it right now.”