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Shooting club boss who served mince pies during lockdown is jailed

The head of a shooting club that served mince pies during lockdown has been jailed after his neighbors reported him to the police.

Maurice Senling, 72, was found to have violated Covid restrictions by selling wine and snacks at Cloudside Shooting Grounds, Staffordshire, in 2020.

The county was under Class III restrictions at the time, which meant that only places were allowed to offer car service or takeaway.

However, Snelling claimed that the club had the CW12 Cheshire zip code, which was lower than Level Two at the time, and thus were allowed to serve alcohol inside if drinks were accompanied by a “big meal”.

Circuit Judge David Fletcher rejected this, stating that the defendant had been living in the area for 30 years, during which time Staffordshire Moorlands County Council had collected its trash.

“I find it hard to believe that Mr. Snelling didn’t know what level of lockdown he was at,” he said.

Police began investigating the venue after residents reported gatherings at the club took place in December 2020 and January 2021, according to StokeonTrentLive.

Snelling has not responded to requests from Staffordshire Police to review the CCTV footage, the Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court has heard.

Also contact Welch Services, a local CCTV company, to request that the venue’s hard drive be wiped from the system while the police investigation is in progress.

Welch Services was uncomfortable with the request and called the police on January 18, 2021 to report that the defendant might claim that CCTV footage had been damaged by a leak.

The company provided the officers with a copy of the footage.

After pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing, Snelling was sentenced Tuesday to six months in prison.

Thomas Sherrington, on behalf of the defense, said his client’s health had been deteriorating since the proceedings began, having suffered multiple heart attacks since then.

“My client is a 72-year-old man who for many years ran a very successful business and really believed the building was in the Cheshire area,” Sheridan said in the context of mitigation.

This has tarnished his reputation. It was believed that he was being targeted by neighbors and this is the accumulated resentment of a man of good character.”

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