A BUSINESSMAN who used to run pubs and clubs in Chepstow and Lydney can carry on shooting after winning a court battle to have his shotgun licence restored.

Gloucestershire police had revoked Dean James’ shotgun certificate after he was allegedly involved in a series of incidents of disorder, harassment or domestic conflict.

Police Superintendent Simon Atkinson decided last November that although Mr James, 49, of Alvington, near Chepstow, had always been cleared of criminal charges he posed a potential danger to the public if he had a shotgun.

But Gloucester Crown Court upheld Mr James’ appeal against the police decision and restored his licence to him.

Outside court Mr James, a keen wildfowler and clay pigeon shooter with a lifelong interest in guns, delightedly shook his lawyer Guy Eskell’s hand and thanked him for his help. Mr James had told the court that although he was a ‘forthright’ person he had never assaulted or injured anyone.

He agreed he did sometimes tackle difficult situations but he did so in a bid to calm or defuse them, not to cause further trouble, he said.

He told how some of the allegations against him resulted from his time running pubs and clubs in Lydney and Chepstow and using his training in conflict resolution to take action and defuse trouble situations.

That had been particularly necessary in Chepstow, a barracks town where he would have to serve 300 to 400 soldiers drinking after returning from combat zones, he said. Allowing his appeal Recorder Ben Browne, QC, said the court felt that most of the incidents which concerned the police had not been as serious or as clear cut as alleged.

Upholding the appeal the judge said Supt Atkinson should not be criticised for his decision but he had not had as much information as the court – and had not met Mr James.

“We do not think we can find that Mr James is a man who readily resorts to violence, still less that he readily resorts to violence where he completely loses control and there might be a risk of him using the shotgun,” the Recorder said.

“We have to ask ourselves if we are persuaded that there is the slightest risk that the public would be endangered by his use of a shotgun and we are not persuaded that is the position.”

The court made no order for costs.