'Childlike' Gun Lover Who Watched Westerns With Weapons by His Side Is Jailed

A cruise ship engineer who pleaded guilty last week to illegally importing guns and ammunition into the U.K watched Western movies with the model weapons at his side, a court heard.

Robert Lockhart, 50, was charged in November last year after being accused of importing several guns to a rural village in Scotland, police said. Lockhart, a former Merchant Navy officer, pleaded guilty last Friday to 15 firearms offences and two customs offences and was sentenced to four years in prison.

"He has a fascination with guns. He would sit on a Saturday watching Westerns with guns at his side, which perhaps is childlike," the man's legal counsel, Tony Lenehan, told a Glasgow court.

It emerged Lockhart had created a room in his home dedicated to shooting targets, The Press and Journal reported. Law enforcement condemned his collection, which included "gas pistol" handguns and a shotgun, saying imported models can end up in the hands of organized crime or be used for scare tactics.

The weapons were not in working order but could potentially have been modified to restore capabilities, local media reported. Ammo included blanks and pepper spray cartridges, the BBC reported.

It was back in October last year when the U.K. Border Force first intercepted a parcel containing a gun that was being delivered to Lockhart from the Czech Republic, police said.

The following month, he was charged after a search of his home resulted in the discovery of a further five guns and ammunition. Later in November, police served a second warrant amid suspicions another gun had been delivered to his Appin residence. A firearm was successfully recovered in the raid.

In total, seven weapons were seized as part of the operation, which was conducted alongside the National Crime Agency (NCA), a policing organization which tackles serious and organized crime in the U.K.

"While these types of firearms are legal and easily obtainable in other countries, they are illegal here in Scotland and across the U.K. Buying them can land you in jail," NCA regional head of investigations for Scotland, Rob Burgess, explained in a statement after the conviction was made public.

"The reason they are illegal is that many can be converted into fully functioning weapons, and we know they are being used in some of the most serious criminality in our communities.

Burgess added: "There is a strong link between illegal drugs supply and the use of firearms, for example, with criminals seeking them to intimidate rivals and enforce control of their operations."

Graeme Naysmith, detective chief inspector of the Organised Crime Partnership, said: "Lockhart attempted to bypass the law by bringing dangerous firearms into this country.

"There is a perception that organised firearms crime is an urban issue but Lockhart's conviction shows that offending of this nature will not be tolerated, wherever you are in the country," he added.

"Buying or selling firearms in this way is illegal in the U.K.—regardless of your intentions—and extremely reckless given the fact that some imported weapons can end up being used in serious organised crime."

According to The Press and Journal, the judge Lady Stacey, told Lockhart during sentencing the charges had to be taken seriously. She said: "I have no information why you had these other than a fascination with guns… gun control is an important matter and you have blatantly breached it."

Robert Lockhart
Robert Lockhart, 50, was charged in November last year after being accused of importing several guns to a rural village in Scotland, local police said. Police Scotland