A BUSINESSMAN who admitted two breaches of the Firearms Act has walked free from court after being given an absolute discharge.

Peter Allen was in the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Thursday after his wife had called the police on him following the married couple splitting up.

Allen was charged with five counts of breaching the Firearms Act 1968 but pleaded guilty to two offences during his appearance in the dock.

Sheriff Adrian Cottam heard that Allen, 46, owned seven shotguns and stored the weapons in a secured outhouse at his former home at Balgone Coach House, near Kingston, south of North Berwick.

Allen then moved to his current address in Mayfair, London, after he and wife Annie split up following the breakdown of their marriage last year, the court heard.

Mrs Allen had called the police to say that Allen had not informed them of his change of address as per the strict requirements of the firearms legislation.

She also told the police that she had access to the keys to the cabinet that the weapons were stored in.

Ian Duguid QC said that Allen, head of property firm Savills UK, had kept the keys at the back of a drawer, adding that any intruder to the property would have had difficulty finding them.

Mr Duguid argued that his client’s employment, which involved frequent trips abroad, would be severely affected by any criminal conviction and asked the sheriff for leniency and to sentence Allen to an absolute discharge.

Sheriff Cottam agreed to the motion, meaning that Allen has been spared a criminal conviction.

An absolute discharge means the guilty plea is recorded but there is no criminal conviction.

Allen admitted failing to comply with conditions of the Firearms Act 1968 by failing to inform the police of a change in address on May 13 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to secure the keys to the cabinet containing the weapons by allowing Mrs Allen access to the keys to the cabinet on the same date.