Former Ilkeston Town owner Chek Whyte fined for having unlicensed shotguns

Court
Court

A former owner of Ilkeston Town FC has been fined £1,000 for having two shotguns without a licence.

llkeston-born Chek Whyte lost a 12-bore Biretta weapon which vanished from the boot of his BMW, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

But he did not realise it was missing because of a family problem at the time, said Tina Dempster, prosecuting.

And he only discovered the loss a month after his firearms licence expired in April last year, she said.

Michael Stokes QC, Nottingham’s senior judge, told Whyte: “The weapon was stolen from your BMW boot, which is where it should not have been. There is a 12-bore shotgun in circulation somewhere.

“You may have deep pockets but it seems to me the appropriate way is a fine.”

Whyte, 51, of Bunny Hall, near Nottingham, was given a week to come up with the cash.

In 2008, he paid 1p to buy Ilkeston Town, the semi-professional club which once operated from the New Manor Ground. After facing financial trouble, he handed it to his son and the club eventually went out of business.

Whyte is not connected with the new club Ilkeston FC, which plays in the Northern Premier League. In 2009, he was declared bankrupt with £30million debts.

He admitted possession of a 12-bore Biretta shotgun without a certificate between March 25 and April 20, 2014 and the same charge relating to a 0.41 Baikal shotgun between March 25 and May 31, 2014.

The court heard that he handed the second weapon to someone who had the legal right to keep it.

Peter Glenser, mitigating, said the police could have sent Whyte a warning letter to say the licences had expired or could have revoked them. Other people could be prosecuted “if they are unlucky,” he told the court.

Mr Glenser said: “He committed the offences at a time he had some bad news.

“He was told his brother had died. Luckily he had not died but was very seriously ill.

“Once he realised the firearm was missing, he went straight to the police and reported it.”

Mr Glenser said Whyte had just offered accommodation to people who had suffered during the floods in Cumbria.

He said: “Courts have a distinction between criminals who use firearms and people who fall foul of criminal law by their personal administration when they are busy.

“Fining him would be pointless. He has deep pockets.

“He has business interests here and business interests in America. Anything which happens is likely to jeopardise these.

“He is not just a man of good character but a man of exemplary character who continues to do a great deal for his community,” added Mr Glenser.