Man convicted of weapons offence after buying Taser to kill rats

Businessman, 53, is convicted of a weapons offence after buying an illegal 50,000-volt Taser gun to exterminate a plague rats at his golf training school

  • Richard Gilling purchased a £20 Taser on advice from commercial lawyer friend
  • His solicitor said that he never used the stun gun, which ‘collected dust’ instead
  • After pleading guilty at Warrington Magistrates Court, he was conditionally discharged for 12 months and ordered to pay £107 in costs and victim surcharge

A respected golf professional has been convicted of weapons offences after a ‘comedy of errors’ in which he bought a 50,000-volt Taser gun to exterminate an infestation of rats in his golf training school.

Richard Gilling, 53, acquired the illegal stun gun online for £20 on the recommendation of a commercial lawyer.

The businessman never ended up using the Taser to electrocute the rats however, and instead forgot about it, leaving it inside a wardrobe at a house he had access to in Lymm, Cheshire.

It ‘collected dust’ for over two years until it was eventually uncovered by the current occupants of the property, who alerted the police.

Gilling was later arrested at his home in nearby Altrincham after his fingerprints were found on the manual for the Taser.

Richard Gilling (pictured) was convicted of weapons offences at Warrington Magistrates Court after buying a 50,000-volt taser to kill a plague of rats

At Warrington Magistrates Court, Gilling pleaded guilty to having in his possession a weapon designed or adapted for the discharge of electrified barbs.

Gilling, who is owner of The Golf School in Altrincham, where he also lives, used to be 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 trainer is separated from his wife, an experience he is still suffering from, according to his lawyer.

Prosecutor Adam Till told the court: ‘Around 6pm on Friday May 6, Constables Unsworth and Quince-Black were following concerns about illegal items including a Taser and other items that were said to belong to the defendant.

‘The officers attended an address and were granted entry by the occupants.

‘The officers carried out 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 10.10pm, the defendant was located at his home address. The items were found in a property that he had access to.’

Gilling (pictured) is a respected golf professional who owns The Golf School in Altrincham, Greater Manchester and had ‘glowing references’ presented to account for his character

Mr Till explained that Gilling was arrested and made no comment in his police interview.

Examination of the item was then taken to establish that it was an illegal firearm as per the Firearms Act 1968, he said, while separately ‘forensic services’ also provided a report.

Mr Till said: ‘On August 22, a further examination was undertaken and the defendant was related to the item in question.

‘The defendant is of previous good character. We are asking for the forfeiture and destruction of the Taser and the cartridges that were seized.

‘There were no dangerous circumstances. There is no evidence that it was produced or used in any way.’

In mitigation, defence solicitor Riyaz Shaikh emphasised that Gilling pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

He said that Gilling had acquired the stun gun to deal with a rat problem following the recommendation of a friend.

Gilling pleaded guilty at Warrington Magistrate’s Court (pictured) and was given a conditional discharge

Mr Shaikh told the court: ‘What seems to have happened is that Mr Gilling received some advice from a colleague.

‘He had a problem with an infestation of rodents where he was residing.

‘He was advised to buy a Taser and effectively taser them.

‘You would be surprised to learn who it was who advised him. It was a commercial lawyer who tendered that advice.

‘He ordered it but it simply sat in the house and has never been used.

‘It cost him in the region of £19 to £20. At first it never arrived and he forgot about it.

‘He was offered a refund and then unfortunately the item did arrive.

‘When he got it, he looked at the manual. That was where the forensic link 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 was not charged, it was not connected. It was in the wardrobe collecting dust for almost two and a half years.

After leaving the illegal Taser in a cupboard and forgetting about it, it was eventually found by the new occupiers of his abode, who alerted the police

‘Unfortunately, he now finds himself in this position. He is 53 years old. He has kept himself out of trouble, he has never been in trouble before.’

Handing the magistrates references, which he said spoke of Gilling’s ‘exemplary character’ in both a professional and personal capacity, the solicitor told the court that his client had been through a separation from which he was still suffering.

He added that Gilling has some commitments in the US related to his golfing business which, depending on his sentence, could suffer as a result of his conviction.

Mr Shaikh said: ‘If he is fined for this offence, it may restrict him travelling abroad to continue with the business that he operated.

‘Therefore I ask that you consider offering him a conditional discharge, which has more flexibility.

‘Bearing in mind the mitigation I have offered on behalf of Mr Gilling.’

Justices of the Peace conditionally discharged Gilling for 12 months and ordered him to pay £107 in costs and victim surcharge.

Chairman Fraser Geke said: ‘You could not really have written that could you?

‘It was a comedy of errors shall we say and we take that into consideration as well as taking into consideration the fact it was never used, and that it was never intended to be used.

‘We also take into consideration your previous good character and your very glowing references.’

The magistrates also ordered that the taser be forfeited and destroyed.

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