A respected golf professional has been convicted of weapons offenses after a ‘comedy of errors’ in which he purchased a 50,000 volt taser to exterminate an infestation of rats at his golf school.
Richard Gilling, 53, acquired the illegal stun gun online for £20 on the recommendation of a commercial lawyer.
However, the businessman never used the Taser to shock the rats and instead forgot about it, leaving it in a cupboard in a house he had access to in Lymm, Cheshire.
It ‘gathered dust’ for more than two years until it was finally discovered by the current occupants of the property, who alerted the police.
Gilling was later arrested at his home in the nearby town of Altrincham after his fingerprints were found on the Taser manual.
Richard Gilling (pictured) was convicted of weapons offenses at Warrington Magistrates Court after buying a 50,000 volt taser to kill an invasion of rats
At Warrington Magistrates Court, Gilling pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon designed or adapted for the discharge of electrified beards.
Gilling, who owns Altrincham Golf School, where he also lives, was the resident pro and head of coaching at the prestigious Mere Golf and Country Club, according to social media, and is an expert in ” Neuro Linguistic Programming “. ‘.
The golf coach is estranged from his wife, an experience he still suffers from, according to his attorney.
Prosecutor Adam Till told the court: ‘At approximately 6 p.m. on Friday May 6, Constables Unsworth and Quince-Black were following concerns about illegal objects, including a Taser and other items believed to belong to the accused.
“Officers attended an address and were granted entry by the occupiers.
“Officers conducted a search of the property. In one of the bedrooms, PC Quince-Black searched a wardrobe. Inside was a black box with a Taser and three cartridges.
“At 10:10 p.m., the accused was located at his home. The objects were found in a property to which he had access.
Gilling (pictured) is a respected golf professional who owns The Golf School in Altrincham, Greater Manchester and has presented ‘high-end credentials’ to account for his character.
Mr Till explained that Gilling had been arrested and made no comment during his interview with police.
Examination of the object was then carried out to establish that it was an illegal firearm within the meaning of the Firearms Act 1968, he said, while the ” forensic services” also provided a report separately.
Mr Till said: ‘On August 22 a further review was undertaken and the defendant was linked to the item in question.
“The defendant is of good character. We demand the confiscation and destruction of the Taser and cartridges that were seized.
“There were no dangerous circumstances. There is no evidence that it was produced or used in any way.
By way of mitigation, defense attorney Riyaz Shaikh pointed out that Gilling pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
He said Gilling acquired the stun gun to deal with a rat problem following a friend’s recommendation.
Gilling pleaded guilty at Warrington Magistrates’ Court (pictured) and received a conditional discharge
Mr Shaikh told the court: ‘What appears to have happened is that Mr Gilling received advice from a colleague.
“He had a problem with a rodent infestation where he resided.
“He was advised to buy a Taser and taser them effectively.
You’d be surprised to learn who advised him. It was a commercial lawyer who offered this advice.
“He ordered it but it just stayed in the house and was never used.
“It cost him between £19 and £20. At first it never arrived and he forgot about it.
“He was offered a refund and then unfortunately the item arrived.
“When he got it, he looked at the manual. That’s where the forensic connection came in. His fingerprints were on the manual but not on the taser.
‘Police arrested him and the item had to be sent off and tested to see if it was a firearm.
“The Taser wasn’t charged, it wasn’t hooked up. It was in the cabinet collecting dust for almost two and a half years.
After leaving the illegal Taser in a closet and forgetting about it, he was eventually found by the new occupants of his home, who alerted the police
“Unfortunately, he now finds himself in this position. He is 53 years old. He kept himself out of trouble, he never had trouble before.
Handing over the credentials of the magistrates, who he said spoke of Gilling’s “exemplary character” professionally and personally, the lawyer told the court that his client had gone through a separation from which he still suffered.
He added that Gilling had commitments in the United States related to his golf business that his sentence said could suffer from his conviction.
Mr Shaikh said: ‘If he is fined for this offence, it may prevent him from traveling abroad to prosecute the business he was running.’
“Therefore, I ask you to consider offering him parole, which offers more flexibility.
“Bearing in mind the mitigation I have offered on behalf of Mr. Gilling.”
Justices of the Peace conditionally released Gilling for 12 months and ordered him to pay £107 in costs and a victim surcharge.
Chairman Fraser Geke said, “You couldn’t really have written that, could you?”
“It was a comedy of errors shall we say and we take that into consideration as well as the fact that it was never used and was never intended to be used.
“We also take into consideration your previous good character and very glowing references.”
The magistrates also ordered that the taser be confiscated and destroyed.