A WEAPONS enthusiast was caught illegally repairing guns in his garage.

Police were at Lee Worrell's former home in Clacton in November last year giving crime advice about an unrelated matter when they spotted two shotguns in a cardboard box in the conservatory.

Officers then found more air weapons - which turned out to be legal - in the garage set out in a makeshift workshop.

The shotguns - a side-by side Sarasqueta model manufactured in Eibar, Spain and a Marocchi Gardone from Brescia, Italy - belonged to a woman Worrell knew from a rifle club who had asked him to restore them.

The 51-year-old admitted two counts of possessing a shotgun without a certificate and illegally repairing them.

Jennifer Scarpenter, mitigating, said: "He was shocked to be arrested and mortified to be here today.

"His father had a business repairing guns and he himself got an air rifle licence at 12 and a shotgun licence at 16.

"Guns have been a part of his life for a long time but unfortunately his licence has expired.

"He used to be a panel beater but he suffered a stroke and can no longer work with heavy materials.

"He wanted to get involved in his father's business and was given air weapons to maintain by a woman he knew.

"After he did such a good job, she gave him the shotguns she had been given as part of an inheritance to fix.

"It was just the paintwork which had been scratched - which is called the bluing.

"He wasn't even going to charge her.

"He was shocked when the police arrived and didn't realise he needed a licence for this."

Magistrates told Worrell, now of Brookvale, St Osyth, they were concerned the guns were lying around in boxes and not mounted on walls.

They handed him a 12 week prison sentence suspended for a year.

He must pay £145 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Worrell is already serving a suspended sentence for unrelated harassment matters which the gun offences pre-date.