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Lymington man William Knight caught trespassing with loaded rifle on Beaulieu Estate

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A MAN caught trespassing on the Beaulieu Estate with a loaded rifle had to pay out more than £1,600 when he appeared before magistrates.

William Knight (69), of Sway Road, Lymington, was found guilty of the offences by the Southampton Bench just over a year after incident, which took place around 10pm on 9th March 2021.

CountryWatch officers had responded to a call-out from local gatekeepers who reported seeing two suspicious men shooting late at night on the estate.

Beaulieu Estate
Beaulieu Estate

One of the men, who claimed to have permission to be on the land, said he was hunting a fox he had just seen, the court heard.

But further investigation established he had been seen standing on a public verge next to his vehicle with the firearm and that he did not have permission to be on the land.

Convicted of possessing a loaded firearm in a public place and trespassing on land with a firearm, Knight was fined £900 and told to pay £710 in court charges.

Welcoming the outcome, CountryWatch PC Matt Thelwell said: “We hope that this conviction sends out a strong message to those with firearms licences across the New Forest, but who may be acting inappropriately.

“Whether that is poaching deer, shooting without permission – if we are aware that these offences are taking place we will seek to take robust action and bring those responsible in front of the courts and justice will be served.”

Those who see suspicious activity or a crime taking place are urged to call officers on 101 or report it online at https://bit.ly/36RaJth but 999 should be dialled in emergencies.

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