A “THORN in the side of the city council” who had 400 guns seized after telling a planning officer “blood will be spilt” is appealing against a decision not to return his firearms licences.

Martin Young, who is well known for his disputes with the council over his house in Headington’s Old High Street, appeared at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

Mr Young is appealing Thames Valley Police’s decision not to return the firearms and shotgun licences he lost in 2008.

Police raided the Old High Street property and seized 400 antique weapons in October that year, after the 67-year-old told council officer Melanie Mutch over the phone: “I am armed, blood will be spilt”.

Mr Young was arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill but later admitted a lesser public-order offence and was given a 24-month conditional discharge with £70 costs.

The court heard Mr Young also told Ms Mutch in 2006: “I will throw you down the stairs and stamp on your head”, though he denies this.

Since 2008 the guns have been kept at an Oxfordshire police station.

Mr Young re-applied for his licences, and thus his right to reclaim the cache, last year after police said they were seeking to sell the weapons at auction.

A three-person panel approved Mr Young’s initial application to regain his licences, but referred it up to the Chief Constable due to the involvement of the city council and the media coverage surrounding the seizure of the guns.

Assistant Chief Constable Helen Ball, acting on behalf of the Chief Constable, then over-ruled the first decision.

It is this over-ruling that Mr Young is appealing.

Giving evidence yesterday, Asst Ch Con Ball said: “In 2008, over a six-week period he made threats in person and in writing, including very serious threats.

“That led him to plead guilty under Section 5 of the Public Order Act and at that time his firearms and shotguns were taken away.

“When it came to my view over two years later, what concerned me was that Mr Young still felt that he had been provoked and harassed by the council and I didn’t believe he had accepted that he was responsible for frightening behaviour in 2008.

“In this case I felt there were a number of letters (written by Mr Young to the council after 2008) which contained accusations of people playing evil games and harassment and vexatious action, which to me meant that I could not be satisfied that Mr Young should be allowed to possess firearms.”

It was Mr Young’s barrister Peter Glenser who described him as “a thorn in the side of Oxford City Council for some time” during questioning of a council witness.

The case continues.