A joint-master of the Tynedale hunt has been cleared of breaching his firearms certificate by the High Court, after leaving a loaded .22 rifle in his car.

Frank Houghton-Brown appeared at York Magistrates Court in November 2009 after police broke into his Subaru car in April last year and found the rifle under coats on the back seat.

A member of the public had told police Mr Houghton-Brown’s dog, shut in the back of the car, was in distress.

Officers later realised a window had been left open for the Labrador.

Police found the gun had its safety catch on, but live ammunition was in the breech.

Magistrates at York cleared Mr Houghton-Brown of the firearms offence, but the Crown Prosecution Service challenged the decision.

Mr Justice Silber cleared Mr Houghton-Brown at the High Court on 26 November.

This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 2 December ’10