http://skegnesstoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=809&ArticleID=1573828 Cache of illegal firearms found at 78-year-old's home A CACHE of illegal firearms was discovered by ambulancemen after a 78-year-old retired Royal Navy engineer collapsed at his home. Edwin Johnson had legitimately bought the deactivated weapons but then used his engineering skills to alter them so they could be fired. Johnson, who later admitted he had 'misapplied' his interest in engineering had also started building his own weapon using a 'How to make your own sub-machine gun' manual. Stuart Lody, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court an Italian-licensed 9mm pistol, a German 9mm pistol dating back to 1896, and an air-powered revolver were all found in the property at Burgh le Marsh. "Some gentlemen of his age design and make their own steam engines. Unfortunately he developed an interest in weapons," Mr Lody said. "A number of components for a sub-machine gun he was making were found. He said he stopped doing that because the drawings in the book were not precise enough." Mr Lody said Johnson, who worked as an engineer for Rolls Royce after leaving the Royal Navy, was thoroughly investigated to see if he had links with the underworld but none were found. Johnson, of High Street, Burgh-le-Marsh, admitted three charges of possessing a prohibited firearm on 20 December and possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate. He was given a two year conditional discharge by Judge John Machin who said there were exceptional circumstances which meant he had no need to impose the minimum five year jail term set down by law. On Friday Johnson was given an absolute discharge after admitting manufacturing an offensive weapon. The judge told him: "You find yourself in court because of legislation which was designed to aim at a mischief of which you clearly have not been the perpetrator. I can imagine few cases where it would be easier to find exceptional circumstances. The inquiries revealed nobody could be less inclined or in any way involved in gun crime. "This was an activity you took up. You activated the weapons simply for the purpose of your own cultural amusement." Steven Gosnell, defending, said Johnson served the Royal Navy with distinction and worked on the development of weapons for the Polaris nuclear submarines. "He is an intelligent man. He is a gentleman," said Mr Gosnell. DC James Manning, who carried out the enquiry, said: "This case was very unusual and disturbingly highlights the relative ease in which someone can attempt to manufacture an automatic weapon in their home, with the aid of the right equipment, skills and information. "We want today to serve as an example to everyone that this practice is unlawful. "All firearms require licensing and anyone found with weapons in their home without a licence will be dealt with accordingly."