Direct Debits
Police Contact
This is what happened

Saturday 24th April 2021
Not quite there yet, but very good news.  The police offered to renew my personal FAC and SC if I withdrew my appeal for renewal of the RFD.  After a little hustling I accepted this as the dealership is a hangover from other days and doesn’t now serve any useful purpose, so this was agreed on Thursday at the Crown Court.

I’m waiting now for letters formally confirming this so that I can restart dealings with the Home Office about our Approval.

I am still very disturbed by the injustice and pointlessness of this wretched affair not to mention the damage it has done to police/shooter relations on Merseyside, but the police also made a good offer on the court costs and I get the feeling that there’s a hint of peace in the air.  Accordingly I’ve asked our solicitors to suggest to the police that if our HOA goes through comfortably, then we’re in with a chance of heading back towards sensible relations.

It has to be fingers crossed, of course, after all that’s happened, but it’s all looking good.  In the meantime, we ARE still up and running on the current ‘unapproved’ terms.




Monday 5th April 2021
OK, time to take up a new hobby – and barring any daftness on Boris’s part, we’ll be open on Monday 12th April.
We’ve got the club .22 rifles back but as the Home Office is still dragging its feet about renewing our Approval, the shooting arrangements are still  clunky:

Saturdays & Mondays
:  AA and full members – airgun/archery only

Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri,
(and Fri 12.00 – 2.00):  Full members only.  Other club on your FAC – archery, airgun, your own guns, club guns.  APC on your FAC – archery, airgun, club guns
Range Fee – £3 if paying Direct Debit, £6 if not

Wed & Fri lunch – clays (shotgun certificate holders only)

Unfortunately, we’re still stuck with Boris’s ‘roadmap’ so make sure you wipe down your bench, stool, target retrieval handle and club gun before and after use.  Keep your distance from one another, unless you’re in a ‘bubble’.  Bring your own cup if you want tea or coffee

As I said in the last mailshot, don’t – please don’t – play jack-the-lad with either the Covid restrictions or the shooting arrangements, whatever you think about them.  We mustn’t give the police the slightest chance to make more grief for us.

We’ve done a lot of work at the range, not the least being disposing of 50 years of rubbish, and, starting Saturday 17th April, we’ll have a new joining procedure for AA members and a ‘Have a Go’ arrangement – see the attached double leaflet.

Now – VERY IMPORTANT (No 1) – make getting new members top of your list.  If you’ve any friends who might be interested in archery or airgunning and who you’re happy with, of course, give them the leaflet and a good push.

And – VERY IMPORTANT (No 2) – want to make more of a contribution?  We need more instructors for the Saturday safety courses.  It’s not difficult, will only involve about an hour on occasional Saturdays 11.00-12.00 and we’ll give you any help you might need.  You may not have done anything like it before, but none of us had.  Trust me, you can do it!  Have a real, good think about it.  You can contact me at

Time to get the place buzzing again.



Tuesday 5th January 2021
So much for the last mailshot, then!  Thanks to the latest Westminster fumbling, we’re shut – along with a great many other businesses.  There’s nothing I can say about this that’s fit for publication but it’s a slap in the face that we need to deal with squarely or we’re going to be in grief.

Last year, despite some grants we made a loss. This was the first time in 50 years and was predominantly due to cancelled Direct Debits and our not collecting subs during the lockdown.  Fortunately, over those 50 years we had built up reserves and it was those that got us through.  However, reserves are just for getting back on your feet, not for living on, as they vanish very quickly – income might drop but expenses don’t.

It’s worth remembering that the club is what it is through the effort of members – tens of thousands of voluntary manhours, continuing even now – over 1000 last year.  So, to those who’ve cancelled their Direct Debits, I’d ask you to add to this effort by giving permission for them to be restarted – just email me at

That will help considerably in keeping us afloat and moving forward through what will undoubtedly be a series of damaging economic hiccups for everyone.




Friday 1st January 2021
Happy New Year to everyone – here’s hoping this year will be less interesting than 2020!

Please have a quiet read of this, the club needs your help.

Quick reminder:  at the turn of 2018/19, Merseyside Police did an inspection, renewed our Registered Dealer’s Certificate and told the Home Office it was ok to renew our Approval.  They’ve done this many times since 1960.  Then, in June, though we had changed nothing, they raided the place – all the Registry staff, a detective sergeant, at least 7 Matrix officers (the heavy mob), a traffic officer checking cars, and 2 officers from the Fire Authority.  They then revoked the RFD and got our HO approval cancelled.  Why?  Don’t ask me!!

While we were trying to sort this out, up popped Covid and made everything worse for everyone, both individuals and businesses.  Through 2020, we’ve all been waiting for it somehow to be ‘over’, but now we know that it will be troubling us in fits and starts for some time yet so we have to come out from under the bed and start moving forward.

Which leaves us where?
We are working to get our Home Office approval and RFD back, but they set the pace and there’s not much we can do about that.  However, we’ll be going flat out to increase our airgun and archery membership, and promoting our clay shooting and the use of the newly returned club .22 rifles.

Which leaves you where?
In Tier 3 in Liverpool, ‘Leisure and sports facilities, such as gyms, can stay open,’ so starting Tuesday 5th January, we’ll be open.  It would be good to see everyone back shooting again.
Reminder :
If you’ve another club on your FAC, you can use your own guns. (Home Office Guidance – you are not confined to using the club named on your FAC, and using any appropriate range counts towards your 3 times a year recommended minimum usage.)
If you’ve still got APC on your FAC you can use the club rifles.

Please remember to sanitize your hands when you come in and to wipe down the stools, firing point benches and retrieval system handles etc.  As with the guns, safety is your personal responsibility.

And, not least, if you’ve cancelled your Direct Debit I’d ask you to reconsider under the new ‘stop/start’ circumstances. I appreciate that being in two clubs was a strain for some but we’ve taken a financial pasting with the lockdowns being added to the Approval problem and, as always, the active support of members is essential if we are to survive.  It was what got us through the pistol ban in 1997 and it will get us through this.  If you want to restart your Direct Debit, just email me at to give me the authority.

Have a think – your help is important.

Again, all the best for the New Year


Friday 18th December 2020
We’re open up to and including Wednesday 23rd December then shut over the holiday, re-opening on Tuesday 5th January.  (Barring lockdowns etc)

Dealings regarding our Home Office approval are still limping along, but we now have the club’s .22 rifles back, which is a move in a good direction.

Shooting arrangements are now as follows
Saturdays and Mondays:  AA and full members – airgun/archery only
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, (plus Fri 12.00 – 2.00):  Full members only (£3 range fee if still paying Direct Debit, £6 otherwise)
Members with another club on their FAC – archery, airgun, their own guns, club guns
Members with APC on their FAC – archery, airgun, club guns
Members with Shotgun Certificates – clays on Wednesday and Friday lunchtime

Unfortunately, we’re still in Tier 2 so, like everywhere else – no ‘socialising’ other than with people you live with etc – and no smiling 🙁
There’s sanitizer etc all over the place but make sure you use it.
Do not – PLEASE – DO NOT – play jack-the-lad with either the Covid restrictions or the shooting arrangements, whatever you think about them.  Apart from giving someone the plague, we don’t want to give the police any chance to make more grief for us.

My considerable thanks to all of you for your support through this doubly bizarre year – Home Office approval and Covid!  It’s been really important.  Like every other business we’ve taken a financial beating, but we’re still moving forward and we’ll be looking to expand in the New Year.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, and thanks again



Wednesday 2nd December 2020
Trying to keep up with this lurching Government is like trying to have a conversation with a trombone player doing the Highland Fling!  However, we can open again.
As the place is a bit of a mess due to the work we’ve been doing, we’ll re-open on Monday 7th December.

Because the Home Office Approval business is still stumbling along, the attendance arrangements are unchanged:
Sat 11.30am – 3.00pm, Mon 7.15pm – 10.00pm:  AA and full members – airgun/archery only
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, 7.15pm – 10.00pm and Fri 12.00 – 2.00pm:  Full members only
‘Other club FAC’ members still paying Direct Debit can use their own guns.  Range Fee £3
‘Other club FAC’ members who’ve cancelled their Direct Debits, ditto, but Range Fee £6
If you’ve still got us on your FAC I’m afraid it’s still airgun/archery only.
Wednesday evenings and Friday lunchtime: clays for Shotgun Certificate holders.

Unfortunately, as before, and like everywhere else, there has to be no ‘socialising’ other than with people you live with etc – so no smiling 🙁
There’s sanitizer etc all over the place but make sure you use it.
Do not – PLEASE – DO NOT – play jack-the-lad with either the Covid restrictions or the shooting arrangements, whatever you think about them.  Apart from giving someone the lurgi, we don’t want to give the police any chance to make more grief for us.


Thursday 22nd October 2020
Right – here we go again – again . . .
Liverpool Council’s website – “Update: From Saturday 24th October 2020 indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, sports facilities and leisure centres can reopen”

So, starting next Monday evening (26th October) we’ll be open again.

Just to remind you about the arrangements –
Sat. 11.30 am – 3.00 pm, Mon. 7.15 pm – 10.00 pm:  AA and full members – airgun/archery only
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, 7.15 pm – 10.00 pm and Fri 12.00 – 2.00 pm:  Full members only
     ‘Other club FAC’ members still paying Direct Debit can use their own guns.  Range Fee £3
     ‘Other club FAC’ members who’ve cancelled their Direct Debits, ditto, but Range Fee £6
     If you’ve still got us on your FAC I’m afraid it’s still airgun/archery only.
Also clays for Shotgun Certificate holders on Wednesday evenings and Friday lunchtime.

Unfortunately, like everywhere else, there has to be no ‘socialising’ other than with people you live with etc.  There’s sanitizer etc all over the place but make sure you use it.  Do not – PLEASE – DO NOT – play jack-the-lad with either the Covid restrictions or the shooting arrangements, whatever you think about them.  Apart from anyone getting the lurgi, we don’t want to give the police any chance to make more grief for us.


Tuesday 13th October 2020
Here we go again, right from the Prime Monster’s mouth –
“Indoor gyms and fitness/dance studios, sports facilities, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will close” (my emphasis).

No grey area there so we have to shut again along with a great many other companies.
I said back in April that while this thing came in with a clunk, it wouldn’t go out with one, but we have a better idea now of what’s likely to happen – a series of awkward stops and starts that will go on for quite a time.  It’s an upset and a nuisance, but it’s in the right direction and we’ve made our basic decision – our way is forward, so this pause won’t stop us continuing to get things ready for when we can start opening properly again.  A lot of work has already been done – PV panels installed, new range lighting and a major clean-up, the results of which are stacked in the warehouse pending disposal.  And, not least, despite the fact that the Home Office is apparently closed, I’ll be making a determined effort to contact them again with a view to re-starting the Approval discussion.

Keep safe and keep your fingers crossed,


Wednesday 23rd September 2020
Just a note to let you know that last night’s announcements do not affect us.  We remain open, though the signing-in procedure is a bit different.  The place is awash with sanitizer and disinfectant (although you have to use it!) and, as you know, there are panels between the firing points, the club rooms are big enough for people to keep well away from one another, and ventilation is downrange.

Sat. 11.30 am – 3.00 pm, Mon. 7.15 pm – 10.00 pm:  AA and full members – airgun/archery only

Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, 7.15 pm – 10.00 pm and Fri 12.00 – 2.00 pm:  Full members only

‘Other club FAC’ members still paying Direct Debit can use their own guns.  Range Fee £3

‘Other club FAC’ members who’ve cancelled their Direct Debits, ditto, but Range Fee £6

If you’ve still got us on your FAC I’m afraid it’s still airgun/archery only.

The clearing of the warehouse is proceeding well and hopefully should be finished some time next month but it is possible now to do prone shooting with large calibre rifles.  Clay pigeon shooting will be on Wednesday evening and Friday lunch but don’t forget your Shotgun Certificate.

The Home Office approval isn’t resolved yet because the department is still shut – sorry, working at home.  We just have to wait on that.

We can get the club guns back as they’re nothing to do with HO approval but we’re not making any serious efforts at the moment as the handling of guns for general use will be a nightmare.  However, it’s high on the list of things to be done when the plague restrictions ease.

This has been, and still is, to some extent, an unpleasant and disturbing time – economically, socially and, not least, emotionally, and it does not help that the media are unremittingly hysterical and the Government are disregarding the science.  However, it will pass eventually and, with your continuing support, we intend to be better and stronger than before.  A considerable amount of work has been done, including the installation of PV panels.

Finally, on a purely personal note – a couple ideas to think about.  Given that this is an age of change if nothing else, they might come in handy.

What can you do about Covid?  Well, apart from the obvious, keep away from ‘other’ folk, wash your hands a lot and wear a mask when it’s crowded (e.g. on public transport) etc, the most valuable thing you can do – for the rest of your life! – is get fit and keep fit.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what state you’re in, it can be done and it’s worth it.  You’re more use to other people if you’re fit and if you do get sick the odds will be better for you.  Also it can be done without punching a hole in your life.  I’ll be at the range on Wednesday evenings and Friday lunch if anyone wants to drop in to talk about it.

The other thought is about building up reserves.  I can’t recommend this too highly!  With money, it’s easy to spend less than you earn once you make up your mind and it’s immensely useful.  Because we’ve always worked to that principle, all the recent upsets we’ve had have hurt but not delivered us a mortal financial blow.  And for everything else?  A bit more food in the fridge/larder, a few extra toilet rolls etc etc and you can sit back and watch others do the ‘panic buying’.

Anyway, you can ignore these at your leisure.  Hope you’re all well and hope to see you soon,


Thursday 20th August – year of the plague, 2020
I hear that some of you have not been receiving emails. There haven’t been many but check  that your Spam or Junk folders aren’t doing things you don’t want them to.  If it helps, the last four emails were sent around the 13th Feb, 18th March, 1st April, 13th July.

I haven’t sent many because I literally did not know what was going to happen – so much was dependent on decisions by other people and just speculating about it would have simply made the Chinese Whispers even dafter than they are already.

Anyway, in case you didn’t get the one on the 13th July, this was to let you know that we’re open again.  The nonsense with the Home Office Approval is still with us, because, amongst other things, the particular department is actually shut (!!), so entry arrangements are:

Saturday 11.30 am – 3.00 pm, Monday, 7.15 pm – 10.00 pm:
AA and full members – archery and airgun only

Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, 7.15 pm – 10.00 pm and Fri 12.00 – 2.00 pm:  Full members only
‘Other club FAC’ members still paying Direct Debit can use their own guns (or do archery or airguns). Range Fee £3 (shooting or not)
‘Other club FAC’ members who’ve cancelled their Direct Debits, ditto, but RF £6 (shooting or not)
If you’ve still got us on your FAC you can only use airguns or do archery.

There’ll be no clay pigeon for the time being as the warehouse is a mess but we’ll bring it back as soon as possible.

The girls will be signing in for you to avoid endless pen groping, so smile and don’t mumble, and there’s all sorts of stuff for spraying and wiping etc but, that said, please remember that, as with gun safety, distancing, handwashing etc are your personal responsibility

This is an unsettling time – the Home Office and Merseyside Police upended us for their own unexplained reasons and the Coronavirus upended the whole country for its own evolutionary reasons. I sincerely hope it’s not caused any of you any real distress and that getting back to shooting again – relaxed and quiet – will help.  As far as the club is concerned, we’ve faced worse and we’ve resolved to come out of this better and stronger.  To this end, a lot of work has been done and is under way and we’re looking to expand all our activities.  With your continued support we will, and I’d like to thank all of you.  There was little any of you could do directly but your silent support has been very important.  Thanks to all of you, you’ve been great – you’ve shown again why this club is a fine achievement,


Wednesday 1st April, year of the plague, 2020
Just to keep you up to date.  As you might expect, the continuation of our trial has been postponed, with no future date yet fixed.  I’m quite disappointed in some ways, as I was looking forward to having a coughing fit in the middle of my evidence, but, so it goes . . .

How does this affect the club?  Not at all really – like almost every other business, we’re shut for the foreseeable anyway.  Fortunately, we don’t have any pressing financial problems even though we won’t be taking any Direct Debit payments.

As for the future, that’s interesting.  This lockdown came down with a clunk but it won’t go out with one and many things will be very different.  The Home Office Approval and the court case will get dealt with eventually, but regardless of these, we will do what we always do – look at the details of what we can and can’t do and make the most of it, just as we did after the pistol ban in 1997.  The club and, ironically, all society now, is in a fight, so we have to take the blow we didn’t see coming, get over it, then come back – one step at a time.  Our basic goal is unchanged – re-open, but better and stronger.

That’s said, I hope you’re all well and not being too badly affected by what’s happening.  If so, then on the basis of an interesting statistic I picked up the other day, I’d recommend you spend any new-found spare time to getting and keeping fit because the mortality rate for this virus almost exactly matches that for life itself.  Which means?  At any age, there is a certain probability that you will die this year – if you get the virus, that probability is actually unchanged.  So, as with life, the fitter you are, the better your chances 🙂

Take care, everyone,



Wednesday 18th March, year of the plague, 2020
Ho ho ho . . . Never rains but it pours, eh, guys?  🙂

It grieves me to have to agree with the Government but I suspect they’re right this time – keeping away from one another is probably a good idea at the moment.  Ironically, we’re very lucky.  For the club, the coronavirus ‘shutdown’ can be lumped with the Home Office approval nonsense as just another bloody nuisance, but for many people – particularly small businesses and free-lancers, it’s a disaster.

That said, read this lot carefully!!

Where are we?  Shut for shooting for the time being, but open for work.  We’ll be using this interlude to continue improving the range, including installing PV panels.

What about the Direct Debits?  There’ll be nothing taken for April and May for sure.  By then, one way or another, everything will be different – I’ll keep you posted.

Where is the club going?  Unchanged – we’ll be a Home Office approved club with a large number of firearms users, a large number of airgun shooters, and a large number of archers.

How’s the HO approval getting on?  Also in limbo.  It’s quite possible my ‘trial’ will be postponed but whatever, I’ll keep my foot on the pedal.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.  This club is remarkable – the quiet, patient support you guys are giving is impressive.  Coronavirus, HO approval – we will get through both of them.  My thanks to all of you.  Keep it up,


Thursday 13th February 2020
Brief update on ‘the trial’.   The police have given their evidence, via Suzanne Hassall.  Nothing new or damning.  The bad news is that it ran out of time because the court was very busy.  The good news is that it ran out of time, and the only witness left to speak is me.  So (provisionally) on the 2nd April we’ll start reasonably early, and the judge, a very pleasant, though patently unbiased, lady, will not have a weary day behind her and a heavy evening’s work in front of her.

This has been a long, disturbing, completely pointless and unprovoked assault on us and all thanks go to you for hanging in.  The club was built and is run by members and is nothing without your support – once we lose that, we’ve had it and, be under no illusions, so has every other club on Merseyside.  Thanks again – keep it up.

Our AA membership is growing nicely which is important for our financial future so if you know anyone interested in archery or airgun shooting, have them leave their names and addresses on 0151 632 4071 and I’ll send them details.

Here are the new opening arrangements:

  • Saturday, Monday – open to all members – archery and airgun only.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – ‘other club FAC’ members with their own guns (bring your FAC or photocopy), and all members for archery and airgun shooting.
  • Clays on Wednesday and Friday lunch (Bring your shotgun certificate or photocopy).
  • Full-bore rifles (7.62, 303 etc,) can be used upstairs.
  • If there’s a clash of interests for use of the warehouse, just sort it out amongst yourselves like the cadets and the university club used to do.  There’s nothing to stop archery and the larger full-bore rifles shooting side by side, for example, and clays generally take very little time.  It’s a fine facility – use it.

Signing-in procedures are unchanged:  If you’ve cancelled your direct debit, you can sign in as a visitor but you don’t need a supervising member.

Saturday 25th January 2020
We’ve altered the opening arrangements slightly:
Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday lunch – airguns and archery
Tuesday, Thursday, and now, Friday evening – ‘other club FAC’ members can use their own guns except when the Standard Rifle and Running Boar are on (air guns) – first and last Fridays of the month.
Clay pigeon shooting is on Wednesday evenings and Friday Lunchtime (bring your shotgun certificate or photocopy)

Don’t forget, ‘other club FAC’ members can shoot full bore rifles (7.62, 223 etc) in the warehouse – either prone (there are shooting mats there) or seated at the firing points. Also don’t forget to bring your FAC or photocopy.

Signing-in arrangements are unchanged.  If you have cancelled your Direct Debit then you should sign in as a B probationer (visitor) but you do not need to be signed in or supervised by another member.

The Home Office is still dragging its feet regarding our Approval, but negotiations are continuing.

Wednesday 18th December 2019
Just to bring you up to date, I’ve managed at last to resign my ‘office’ as club secretary and the Home Office have the details of my successor.  This doesn’t affect the admin work I do but hopefully it should clear the way to getting the Approval application going again.  That said, I doubt we’ll get anything from the Home Office until next year.

Amongst other things, this dismal affair has highlighted something which old lags like myself tend to take for granted but which isn’t perhaps appreciated by newer members.  I do not run the club – still less own it.  As Official Police Liaison Officer and doing most of the admin, I am, admittedly the most conspicuous member, arguably, many would say, the noisiest, but the place is run as it’s always been run – by the people who do the work.  It couldn’t have been any other way – have a look at the history folder on the counter when you’re down next and you’ll soon get an idea of how much work was done – and is still being done.  The club is nothing without the contribution of its members, be it work, ideas, or just the monthly sub, so a big – no, an enormous – ‘thank you’ to all of you who’ve dug your heels in and given your continued support.  What’s happened to us is both upsetting and quite unique, not to say downright vicious, but we’ll battle on, adapt, and survive, just as we survived the pistol ban in 1997.

Every best wish for Christmas and the New Year, and thanks again


Monday 25th November
Friday 29 November – standard rifle shoot (air guns)
Friday 6 December – running boar shoot (air guns)
Wednesday 11 December – clay pigeon shoot, 8.00pm, (bring your Shotgun Certificate)
Friday 13 December – prize giving
Saturday 14 December – fun shoot (air guns) – 10.30 to 2.30

Tuesdays and Thursdays still ok for ‘other club FAC holders’ – but don’t forget to bring your FAC – a photocopy of the front page will be fine.  Don’t forget, while the FB range is limited to 44mag max, bigger calibres – 7.62, 303 etc – can be shot prone upstairs.  The rest of the week is for archery and airgun shooting as usual.

We’re open on Friday 20 December, then we’re shut over Christmas and the New Year, and re-opening on Thursday 2 January.

As you might guess from the above, while we’re still in a kind of limbo, we’re a long way from being down, and a lot of people are working very hard with an eye to the future. Once again, my thanks to all of you for your continued support.


Saturday 2nd November
Don’t forget, this site and the associated emails are the only accurate sources of information about what’s happening.  All else is ill-informed gossip and speculation – ignore it.  We’ve always been straight with members – life’s simpler and better that way.  Anyone can pitch in with ideas, come down and work and get shares in the place, organize activities etc, no cliques, no dreary behind-the-hand whisperers.  That’s how we started in 1970, that’s how we’ve continued, that’s why it’s a good club.  So it’s been hard not being able to keep everyone up to speed.  However, I simply didn’t know what was going to happen and giving out a load of ‘maybe this, maybe that’ would have merely fuelled the Chinese Whispers, already working overtime.  Now however, I do know what’s happening.

Earlier this year, the police did two normal inspections. Our RFD and Home Office Approval certificates were issued – valid to May 2022 and Jan 2025 respectively.  Nothing changed after that but, for reasons unknown, they raided the place on 20th June.  Then, on the 4th July, they had the Home Office cancel our approval without notice, and I had to go the range so they could take the club guns.  On the 11th July they came to my home to tell me my RFD, my FAC and Mavis’s FAC were revoked.  They took our guns and I had to go to the club again to let them take the RFD guns.

Initially, the reasons for the revocations were an incoherent mess of security ‘concerns’ and totally irrelevant alleged breaches of Home Office Criteria, but after subjecting me and Mavis to interviews under caution, they eventually got round to charging us with breaching conditions of RFD and FAC conditions by not keeping guns secure.

On Thursday 31st October – Halloween, no less, very apt for dark and dirty doings! – represented by solicitors and a barrister advised by BASC, we appeared at Bootle magistrates to plead not guilty.  A trial date was set for 11th February.  Between now and then, I’ll obviously be going through their statements in detail and replying to them in conjunction with our advisers.

So where does this leave the club? As I signed the HO approval application and as they’re in dispute with me, the police will not complete the official inspection (their main objective?).  I’ll keep trying with the Home Office to get round this, but I feel they don’t want to be involved and are quite content to go along with Merseyside Police.  However, I will try . . .

If there’s no success with them, someone else can sign a new application and deal with the police. I’ve no problem with that, but no one wants the job and I can’t blame them.  Alternatively, we can hang on and see what happens on the 11th Feb – the ‘other club FAC’ shooting on Tuesdays and Thursdays is continuing to pick up, as is the archery and the airgun shooting – particularly the standard rifle and running boar, and I’m working to get the club guns back which will open some interesting opportunities.  Work on various improvements is also continuing.

If we’re found ‘not guilty’, then great, if not – (the law’s the law and can get it wrong) – then we’ll definitely need a new signatory. Oddly enough, in that case, I don’t think that’s going as big a problem as now.  That said, all ideas are welcome though if anyone mentions ‘committee’, be warned that this club can only be run by an ergatocracy 🙂

Finally my thanks again for your substantial and continued support. I’m glad at last to have been able to bring everyone up to date.  What the police are playing at I’ve no idea – I’ve a feeling that going for me is scratching the bottom of the barrel to justify what they did on the 20th June and going for Mavis is just to put pressure on me.  But what the whole thing’s been about, God only knows.  That, however, is a matter for another time, another place – whatever happens.

Sunday 28th October
Just a brief update.
No spectacular news as yet, but I’m hoping for some clarification within the next couple of weeks. Regrettably there’s no kind of leverage that we can bring against the police or the Home Office at this stage, so they set the pace.
That said, however, the club – the membership – is doing what it’s good at and picking itself up very nicely. Some useful work has been done and is continuing.  Standard rifle and running boar shoots for air rifle are proving popular – next Friday (1st November) is running boar – and more members are taking advantage of the ‘other club FAC’ option on Tuesdays and Thursdays – this incidentally includes prone FB rifle shooting in the warehouse for Altcar shooters, though you’ll have to watch out for the cowboys on Thursdays, and you must bring your FAC.
Finally, and not least, thanks for your continuing support. It’s very much appreciated.  We will get through this.

Tuesday 15th October
I think we’ve sorted the comments problem out – they’ll be looked at before they appear on screen.

Some questions answered
‘Why did the Home Office remove our approval?’ Absolutely no idea – that’s the scary part.  We’ve had approval inspections many times – one, maybe, two officers – quiet, thorough, professional, by appointment – as in December last.  No concerns were expressed as shown by the fact that approval was granted in January.  After that, nothing changed – repeat, nothing changed – then the incredibly intimidating June raid and the police tell the HO to pull our approval.  No list of issues, no time allowed for discussion, just a phone call to say ‘get down here, we’re taking the guns’.
I’ve written creative fiction in the past, but I wouldn’t dare put a plot as daft as that in front of an editor.

‘Gun in the wrong place?’ That’s my poor explanation, and why I don’t like complicated matters being bandied about through emails.  You can keep any gun or ammo anywhere you want, providing it’s safe.  The suggestion here is actually that guns in the club cupboards are not ‘safe’ when the club is open.  No reason has been given for this suggestion.

‘Why are you fighting a one-man crusade against the police?’ Jeez, I’m not.  I just happen to be here.  Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t fight.  Least of all would I fight with the police.  The firearms laws are irrational but I take that up with politicians, not the police – they can’t do anything.  I’ve always had good relations with then – they have a job to do, it’s mutually beneficial and generally pleasanter.

‘Are you getting any help?’ Yes.  Members are still turning up and shooting whatever they’re allowed to.  Members are saying ‘keep it up’, Members are still paying the Direct Debits.  Members are turning up and working and, not least, discussing ideas.  My considerable thanks to all of them.

‘Do you have a solicitor?’ Yes, as recommended by BASC.

Tuesday 15th October
I’m afraid I’ve had to stop the ‘comments’ option on the site.  It goes against my grain to do that but unfortunately things have been said which unequivocally should not have been said and we can’t take the risk.
At the moment, while the Home Office Approval application is wending its weary way I’m working to get the club guns back then we can make some interesting changes. I’ll get a mailshot out when this happens.

Friday 27th September
Don’t forget, there’s standard rifle for airguns tonight – single shots, autos, springers, gas guns, even pistols.  Give it a go.

The ‘other club FAC’ shooting on Tuesdays and Thursdays is picking up and you can now shoot any calibre (303, 7.62 etc) prone rifle in the warehouse on Tuesday evenings – Altcar it ain’t, but shooting, it is.  If you’ve not been before, don’t forget to bring your FAC or, unfortunately, we can’t let you in.

And don’t forget too, that if you cancelled your Direct Debit but in fact want to carry on as a member, let me know asap and let me have the October subs before the 12th October.

Saturday 21st September
Although there’s no fresh news about the Approval, it’s still continuing and we’re adjusting to the new arrangements very well.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are picking up as ‘other club’ FAC holders get the message, and an increasing number are digging out their air guns for the rest of the week.  It’s been very heartening to see so many members quietly saying ‘We don’t have to put up with this.’

On Friday 27 September, Allan will be running a version of the standard rifle for air guns. Any air gun can be used – single shot, auto, springer, gas gun, even pistols if you’re feeling hard (or cool!)
Friday 4 October ditto but Running Boar.
Saturday 19 Oct, John will be running an air fun shoot 11.00 – 2.30.
We’ve still got some repair work to do but we hope to have the clay shooting back fairly soon.

It’s also been heartening to have so many members ask about restarting the Direct Debits so I’ll start them in October. I have not stopped the membership of anyone who cancelled their DD since this started as I know some of you did it because of the initial confusion.  If you’re one of these and want to continue as members, could you let me know and let me have a cheque (or cash at the club) to cover your October sub.  That will enable me to re-establish your DDs and start your payments in November.  If I haven’t heard from you by Saturday 12 October, I’ll assume you do not wish to stay on and I’ll cancel your membership.

Tuesday 10th September
Still nothing spectacular to report but I just wanted to deal with a particular Chinese Whisper that’s drifting around.  I’ve confirmed today that, as has always been the case, our insurance is still in place whether we are Home Office Approved or not and ‘other club’ FAC holders can legally shoot their own guns on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Incidentally does anyone have experience in programming the Paxton Net2 entry system?

Saturday 31st August
Nothing spectacular to report, unfortunately, but we’re battling slowly on.  In the meantime, don’t forget, if you’ve another club on your FAC you can shoot your own guns on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are still airguns only and the Saturday airgun shooting is now 11.30 – 3.00 – probationers can attend these.  Also Allan will be running the standard rifle and running boar at the end of the month using air rifles just to see how it goes.

We’ve had the CCTV upgraded and an electronic entry system installed though it isn’t operational yet, and various good souls are wading through the CCTV pictures of the event, which may well come in handy.  We’ve also been repairing the damaged belting in the warehouse and working on a way of preventing it in future so we can get back to clay shooting.

If the police have been in touch with you, try to recall what they actually said, it could be important – passing on inaccurate (or confidential) information.  I’ve heard “Aintree’s shut”  “won’t be opening again” “got fire issues” and I suspect there’s more.  And if you know who said it, even better.  There are already about half a dozen official complaints being handled by their standards dept.  Apropos of which, don’t give up on your letter writing.  If you need any help dealing with the routine fob-off stuff that comes back from the Home Office, the Chief Constable, the Commissioner, your MP etc, let me know.  The name of the game is to have our officials spending time on the matter.

Keep on slugging.

Friday 9th August
We’re still largely in the hands of other people regarding our HO Approval and there are a lot of other balls in the air – the whole situation is very fluid. The important thing however, is to get back to shooting what we can shoot.   That said, we’ll be open as follows starting today
Saturday 11.30 – 2.30, airgun and archery
Monday evening – airgun and archery
Tuesday evening – other club FAC holders
Wednesday evening – airgun and archery
Thursday evening – other club FAC holders
Friday 12.00 – 2.00, and evening – airgun and archery

Airgun and Archery
Open only to our members but A and B probationers (visitors) allowed as now.

Other club FAC holders
Those of you who have another approved club on your FAC can use your own guns legally on our range as you are still members of APC and we have a safe facility with insurance in place. The first time you come down, bring your FAC so the girls can make a note of your other club then sign in and enter your gun numbers as usual.

You can only use the guns on your FAC.
There are no club guns and no ammo for sale.
You may not use anyone else’s guns.
Keep your guns in sight and in reach.
No probationers (A or B) – except for the usual B probs when the cowboy shooters are using upstairs.


Sunday 4 August
As before we’re still in the hands of other people, and likely to be so for a bit longer.  However, we’re not standing still.  In 1997 when the pistols were banned we looked at ‘pack it in’ and ‘carry on’ and opted for the latter and we’ve done the same this time.  One way or another we’ll end up with an effective shooting club whatever happens.  Also as in 1997 we’ll take this opportunity to look at everything we do and see how we can improve.  We’ve already got new cctv, we’ll have an electronic signing-in system fairly soon, and the Saturday morning work details are generally sprucing the place up.  We’ll also be looking to protect ourselves from this kind of vicious stunt in the future.  After 1997 we did this by starting to build up reserves, which is why we’ll come out of this poorer, but not in financial jeopardy.  This time we’ll continue building reserves and also look to expand archery, airgun and shotgun shooting and establish better links with other clubs and RFDs.

For now, don’t forget we’re open as usual and you can come down and natter (no charge) or shoot airguns (range fee as usual).  Probationers can also come down and you can bring visitors, as normal.  You can legitimately say, ‘I’m not interested in air gun shooting,’ which is fair enough.  However, it is a way of saying ‘up yours’ – I’ll leave it with you.  We may close early on some evenings as, obviously, Lynda and Gillian have to leave when the last members leaves.

Finally, but not least, if anyone has any ideas for the future, let’s hear them.

Friday 19 July
While we’re waiting, contingency plans are being worked out for ‘where next?’ depending on a variety of outcomes – all ideas welcome.
In the meantime, keep up the letters to the MPs, Home Secretary, CCP, Chief Con etc asking, why, when we’d been approved in January and nothing had changed? why such a police turnout? what was the intention given rifles are hardly ever used in violent crime? etc etc.  Make your views/feelings felt, you’re entitled, you’ve just been kicked in the nuts for nothing.  There’s a link to addresses and stats at the top.


Monday 15 July
At the Home Office’s suggestion we have submitted a new application for Approval.  This will go through their system and take time, but it will give us a chance to show them how we’ve dealt their concerns.
There’s seems to be no rush on the part of the police to start revoking FACs as it will involve a lot of work, and more, if a few submit appeals.  If you are contacted, use the ‘Police been in touch’ link above to let me know.
I’ve been in touch with the NRA – they know our position and will help.  They are a HO Approved club and will accept FAC holding club members straight away.  Currently the sub seems to be about £55.  If you want to join now that’s fine, but don’t get the name on your FAC changed until we know exactly what’s happening.  In any event, you can download the forms and fill them in.   https//

Saturday 13 July
The police have raised no objection to members using their air guns, but still don’t bring any other guns down.  For now we’ll be open Wed, Thurs, Fri (lunch and evg), and Sat pm.
Could I trouble you to let me know if you have a FAC.  Just email me at with your name and ‘FAC’, or ‘no FAC’.  Thanks.
For those of you who haven’t yet, you should be complaining to your MP (copying to the Home Office) and the Chief Con (copying to the PCC)  addresses below.

Friday 12 July :  A lot’s moving, but nothing solid to report.  This site will continue to be the main source of information.  If you’ve written to your MP, great.  If he doesn’t reply soon, send him a reminder.  If he does reply, follow up his argument.  It’s important to let him know you’re there, and both watching and questioning.  And certainly push his nose in the stats – 5 years, only 9300 firearms crimes out of four and a half million violent crimes and out of them, at the most, only about 100 involved rifles.  Talk about a waste of resources!

Thursday 11 July :  We will be open Thur 11, Fri 12 (12.00-2.00, and 7.00-10.00), Sat  13 (9.00-1.00), Wed 17, Thur 18, Fri 19 (12.00-2.00, and 7.00-10.00), Sat  20 (9.00-1.00).  NO GUNS!!  There’ll be no range fee of course but there’ll be coffee and Mars bars as usual and somewhere to sit and talk.

Re the impromptu meeting on Wednesday – thanks for being there, it was very useful.  As a result, two jobs for you – get your guns safe, (see Direct Debit link), think about what the club, the building, could become.  (Three, actually, keep on at your MP).  Don’t be nervy about ideas – the more we get, the better chance we have of getting the odd good one – they’re like hen’s teeth but they’re worth the effort.  My job is the same plus focus completely on getting the HO approval restored.
One more job for some of you, read the HO letter and my reply, very carefully!


Tuesday 9th July :  Some of you may be taking a ‘waste of police resources’ line in your letters. You may find these figures useful.  They’re from the Government Crime Statistics, although they’re not easy to find as these are scattered everywhere.  I’ve rounded them off for ease.

  1. In the last 5 years there have been about 20 million crimes nationally,
  2. About 4.5 million (less than a quarter) of these have been violent.
  3. 9,300 (one in 480, 0.21%) of these involved firearms – 8,400 pistols (banned in 1997) and 900 ‘legally held’ firearms in the shape of 800 shotguns and 100 rifles. I put ‘legally held’ in inverted commas because I’ve assumed that all the shotguns and rifles used in violent crime were legally held which is improbable.  The actual figures will be less.
  4. Yes, you read it right – 100 rifles in 5 years nationally. I’ll leave it to someone else to work out how much Merseyside Police should be spending on counting our rifles.  Let me know


Tuesday 9th July :  If you want to apply to another club to protect your FAC, that’s fine.  It’s not disloyalty, we’ve all got to look after ourselves.  That said, I’d ask you not to cancel your Direct Debit.  This cancels your membership and gives me quite a bit of work that I have difficulty finding time for at the moment.  One of the solutions to this whole problem may be a change of management structure with a view to everyone simply moving over to a ‘new’ club so you’ll need it for that.  In any event, if we’re not up and running by the end of this month, we certainly won’t be applying for any DD payments!


Monday 8th July :  If the police contact you – be nice – ask for their name, rank and number and make a note of what they say.  Shortly we should be able to record this information here and get an overall view of what’s going on.


Monday 8th July :  Contrary to the rumours flying about, we were not raided by the SAS, with infantry and tank battalions as back-up. However, on the evening of the 20th June we were ‘visited’ by the police, without prior notice, ostensibly to do a routine Home Office Approval check – like the same one a couple of ladies did in January, only this time with some six or more uniformed officers, three or four Registry staff, two fire bobbies and a traffic cop.

On the 4th July they rang from outside the club to tell me to read my emails, and there was one from the Home Office revoking out Home Office Approval. I was to go to the club immediately. Quite what would have happened had I not been available, I don’t know, but let that pass. When I arrived some 10 officers under the instruction of a Registry Officer removed all the club’s guns and ammo, and a few other things as well. I haven’t had a receipt yet, incidentally, but it was very big.

I fully appreciate that everyone who’s caught wind of this via Chinese whispers is very alarmed, because it is very serious, affecting, as it does, everyone’s FACs, but my focus has been totally on getting a reply back to the Home Office asap. That done, we will knock this web site into shape, get the links working so you can come for the rumour-free truth. I will keep you as up-to-date as I can, but, as you will appreciate, the situation is very fluid.

In the mean time you can write to your MP, the PCC, the Home Secretary, to express your dismay at the police’s unprecedented conduct, after over 40 years of excellent relations with them. If you’re upset, tell someone, but keep your language moderate and calm and your arguments reasoned. Under no circumstances resort to abuse.


You can find your MP at (follow the MPs, Lord & Offices tab).

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

The Home Secretary is Sajid Javid, same address.

The Chief Constable is Andrew Cooke QPM, Merseyside Police, Canning Place, Liverpool, L1 8JX

The Police and Crime Commissioner is Ms Jane Kennedy, Wavertree Road Police Station, Liverpool, L7 1RJ


I’ve been very heartened by the many offers of help I’ve received and I’ve no doubt I’ll be calling on them in due course. We will all have to fight our corner but, unfortunately, at this stage, while everyone can – must – think and plan, no one can actually do much for the moment, so do your best to stay loose. Keep watching this space – but not every five minutes!


Roger Taylor

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