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Councillor charged with firearms offences

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A Tendring DC councillor under police investigation over financial allegations has been charged with firearms offences.

Peter De-Vaux Balbirnie, who represents the local Tendring First party, was charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition without certificates and bailed to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 8 September.

He was already on police bail until 16 December after having been arrested in connection with money laundering and corruption.

Cllr Balbirnie’s solicitor Dennis Brown said Essex Police were due to apply to a court on 31 August to extend the period in which they can impound £30,000 seized from him in June 2009.

Mr Brown said: “He has a shotgun and a firearms licence and these charges concern one round and silencer which were not on his certificate due to an administrative mistake by police staff. Why has it taken 15 months to charge him?”

The councillor has not been charged over any matter concerning the money, Mr Brown noted.

An Essex Police statement said: “Detectives are continuing to investigate an allegation of financial irregularities at Tendring District Council.

“A 65-year-old man from the Clacton area is currently on police bail until Thursday, December 16 after having been arrested in connection with money laundering and corruption.

“A 65-year-old man from the Clacton area has been charged and bailed for two firearms offences (possession of firearm without a certificate and possession of ammunition of a firearm without a certificate) and bailed to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on September 8.”

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