Gun-hoard man in police stand off in Gustard Wood, Wheathampstead

Hogsland house on The Slype in Gustard Wood

Hogsland house on The Slype in Gustard Wood - Credit: Archant

Armed police surrounded a house on Monday where an elderly man was holed up with a gun arsenal – less than a day after they had been called out to a domestic incident there.

The drama at the house known as Hogsland in The Slype, Gustard Wood, began on Sunday morning when police raced to the scene after concerns were raised about the welfare of a woman in the house.

Around eight police cars responded to the call to the house which sits behind high hedging and a gate. The woman – believed to be the partner of the owner of the property – was eventually able to leave safely and is now staying elsewhere.

The owner was temporarily detained by police but when they went back with a firearms warrant the following day, he holed himself up in the house.

During the day-long stand-off, armed police were on hand and a negotiator was called in to try and persuade the householder to come out without any firearms.


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Police took over part of the car park of the nearby Cross Keys at the invitation of the pub. Ambulances were also on standby in case of any shooting.

Negotiations continued throughout the day but police are remaining tight-lipped about whether any shots were fired. They have confirmed there was no-one else in the property at the time and nobody was hurt in the incident which ended around midnight on Monday.

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They subsequently seized a number of firearms from the house and were still at the scene on Tuesday morning.

The man, who is believed to be Brian Lightfoot, 74, the owner of the property, was subsequently arrested and held in police custody while investigations continued. He has now been released on police bail and has to report back to police in late November.

Mr Lightfoot has lived in Hogsland for many years and is a member of the Cross Keys Gun Club. He is known as a gun enthusiast who even kept a small cannon in his house at one time and has a nuclear shelter under part of his property. He has a son and daughter from his first marriage and is understood to have lived with his partner for some time.

A neighbour described him as, “a very capable, practical man, a great naturalist”. No-one from The Cross Keys was available for comment.

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