Published: 00:01, 05 August 2018
A drunk clay pigeon shooter triggered an armed police response after accidentally blasting a hole through his bedroom ceiling.
Alex Crammond, 27, had been drinking with friends at his home in Dean’s Walk in South Ashford when he decided to take a shotgun to his room.
Shortly afterwards four armed response vehicles and officers “dressed in black” raided his home after neighbours called the police when they heard a blast from his home.
The self-employed business owner - who legally owned four shotguns and one rifle for clay pigeon shooting - had removed the weapon from the kitchen safety case with the only key to show his friends.
Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard last Wednesday how one of the group was then woken by the sound of a weapon being discharged.
Crammond, who had owned a licence since last year, decided to take the shotgun to his bedroom “for something to play with,” the court heard.
Prosecutor Kelly Williams explained how a friend found Crammond “stood at the foot of his bed holding the gun”.
“He unloaded the gun into the ceiling of the room,” Ms Williams said.
“Mr Crammond said he was drunk and couldn’t remember, but said it would have been him.
“It appears the act was irresponsible, there was no intention to injure life.”
Police were called just after 10am on Saturday, July 7.
On his arrest Crammond - who had returned home from an Ashford snooker club with his friends - gave a “full and frank police interview”, the court heard.
Before the incident, the group had mixed gin and whisky into the early hours when conversation turned to hobbies.
They had posted pictures of themselves posing with the firearm before it was discharged.
Crammond pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a shotgun certificate at the first opportunity and was fined £1,353.
His weapons worth £3,000 were also seized.
Defending, Jagmohan Takk said Crammond acknowledged he had an “unhealthy relationship” with alcohol and is seeking help.
Mr Takk added his client’s “out of character behaviour” was owed to using the substance to self-medicate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
He said: “Mr Crammond appreciates he has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol; my client describes himself as a binge drinker.
“He says there was a social and he got out a bottle of Jack Daniels and gin.
“Mr Crammond went to his own bedroom where he decided to still play with the gun - unfortunately it was discharged.
“The only danger was to Mr Crammond himself.”
Mr Takk added Crammond has sought cognitive behaviour therapy and a support group to help combat his alcohol.
Crammond has apologised to his neighbours and relinquished his firearm licence, he added.
“Everyone needs to be aware that guns aren’t toys, through alcohol and misjudgement I forgot that...” - Alex Crammond
Sentencing, district judge Justin Barron said: “I don’t think you will be coming back to the court for any offences, especially something similar.
“Your behaviour was irresponsible and serious.
“The person responsible for shooting the shotgun into the ceiling was yourself.”
Speaking outside court, Crammond said “guns aren’t toys” and swore to continue his battle against depression and alcohol.
“Everyone needs to be aware that guns aren’t toys, through alcohol and misjudgement I forgot that,” he said.
“Now it’s just about trying to recompense for that and take this opportunity to straighten out my own issues because it’s very out of character.
“I just find it ridiculous that something like this had to give me a wake-up call; I’m receiving counselling and help from an alcohol support group.
“These last few weeks have been very up and down.
“Now it is over I feel quite relieved and never want to be in that position again.”