A farmer in the Tamar Valley is upset after armed police visited his home late at night asking for his shotguns - ten months after he surrendered the guns to the police.

In April 2021 the farmer's gun licence renewal was delayed because of the pandemic so he surrendered his guns.

Thousands of farmers across the country are struggling to renew their firearms licences or secure a new licence because of a change to the law.

From November 1, 2021 applicants are now required, at their own expense, to obtain a GP report as part of the new application process.

In practice, GPs were reluctant to spend time producing such reports as they were tasked with the Covid-19 vaccination and booster programme.

Consequently this has created enormous delays in licensing, leading Bill Harriman, BASC director of firearms, to warn last month that "firearms licensing across England and Wales is close to collapsing".


The Tamar Valley farmer, a man in his 80s that wishes to be anonymous, is upset about his interactions with the police.

He said: "I'd applied for the renewal of my licence but I'd heard nothing, so my licence ran out last April and the police came and took my guns.

"Because I'm lame in one leg, I needed a medical report to apply for the renewal but the GP refused as they were too busy.

"At 8 o'clock on Monday night last month, I was nearly asleep when there was a knock at the door.

"It was pitch black but there were two fully armed policemen stood there saying they'd come to get my guns.

"I told them 'you've had my guns months ago' but they didn't believe me, and wanted to search the house and my gun cabinet.

"Well, I had the receipt for the guns, but I didn't want to show it to them in case they pocketed it, it's my only evidence."

Becoming increasingly anxious, the farmer gave the officers the telephone number of a member of his family that works for Devon and Cornwall Police.

He asked them to call her, as she would verify that the guns had been surrendered ten months before their visit.

They did so and left, having accepted that the farmer was telling the truth.

This episode has left the farmer worried about his guns, since the police were unaware that their department is already holding them.

More pressingly, he is now extremely concerned that, as his ewes begin lambing, he is unable to protect them against birds across his 150 acres of land.

He also shoots grey squirrels to protect birds' nests, and with such mild weather, eggs will soon be laid.

He says that the licence delays bring up other questions such as how many farmers are being forced into selling their guns because they cannot afford the storage fees charged by gunsmiths.

He also questions whether guns that are surrendered from farmers are included in statistics that show how many weapons police officers have 'taken off the streets'.

South West Farmer asked Devon and Cornwall Police for comment about the two visits to the Tamar Valley farmer.

A spokesperson responded: "Unfortunately, due to the ongoing independent investigation into Devon and Cornwall Police’s firearms licensing procedures and management of Jake Davison by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, we unable to comment further on specific matters at this time."

The investigation is in response to the mass shooting that Davison carried out in Plymouth on August 12, 2021.

For more information firearms licensing, visit devon-cornwall.police.uk/our-services/firearms.

If you have experienced delays with gun licences, we'd love to hear from you. Email editorial@southwestfarmer.co.uk.