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I shot men by accident when I tried to kill fox
A DISABLED farmer lost his firearms licence after two men suspected of burgling a cannabis factory on his land were allegedly shot.
Edward Tibbs, 62, from Elm Farm, London Road, Crays Hill, suffers from multiple sclerosis and neuralgia. He has been shooting since he was eight years old.
He believes he accidentally shot the intruders while firing at a fox from his mobility scooter.
His licences for a rifle and shotgun were revoked by Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle.
It came after he was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the men’s injuries in August.
He was released without charge after a three-month investigation.
Mr Tibbs has spoken out for the first time about the events of that evening, and his ordeal.
He said at around 4am he was woken by noisy geese from a pen near his home and saw a fox nearby.
Mr Tibbs said he then went out on the scooter and fired about three shots at the animal, but must have missed.
The farmer says he had no idea two men were hit by pellets from his shotgun and he heard no shouts or screams.
He also insists he was oblivious to the fact cannabis was being grown in one of several units rented out on his farm.
Mr Tibbs explained: “Shooting is my life. I used to shoot every other day – rats, foxes, pigeons, vermin.”
But he said the first he knew of the men’s injuries was when 16 armed police raided his property the evening after the event, at about 8pm.
Mr Tibbs said: “It was an accident as far as I am concerned. I was out shooting foxes that night on my land and apparently two people got shot there.
“I didn’t know anyone had been hit. If I did I would have called the police.
“Apparently they went to the hospital and police were called and they said where it happened.
“It happened at 4am, but the first I knew about it was when the police came, but they were not here until 8pm.”
The injured men were also arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm, but later released without charge.
A 21-year-old Bentwood man, believed to have driven them to hospital, was also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but released without charge.
None of the three men would make formal complaints to police.
Essex Police confirmed two licences held by Mr Tibbs for more than 20 years were revoked.
A spokesman said the two guns had been in the force’s possession since the raid.
He said grounds for the revocation were that the holder was: “Unfit to be entrusted with a firearm and may present a danger to public safety or the peace.”
According to Mr Tibbs, police also said he had too much ammunition and should have had licences for two other antique guns.
Officers who searched the farm seized firearms and 50 cannabis plants from the rented unit.
A 63-year-old woman from Crays Hill and a 39-year-old woman from Billericay were arrested on suspicion of cannabis cultivation, but were also later released without charge.