The father of a two-year-old girl who was crushed to death by a TV set is facing jail after stumbling across a secret cache of drug dealers’ weapons buried behind his home.
A cannabis farm on land behind Peter Lyle’s home had already been raided by North Yorkshire Police, who recovered a number of guns.
But the home-made sniper rifle and large quantity of military dum dum bullets remained undiscovered until Mr Lyle found them in a concealed pit while out hunting.
Mr Lyle, 39, a gun enthusiast, intended to hand the military ordnance in to the authorities.
But because he has a passion for hunting and his life has been torn apart by tragedy he became curious and fired some of the dum dum shells to test the strange weapon, a court heard.
Scarborough Magistrates heard Mr Lyle held weapons legally under a firearms certificate and had permission to shoot vermin behind his house.
Marcus Topham, defending, said there was a bigger property on the estate - a large family house on the 50 acres, formerly occupied by the land owners.
He continued: “A very large cannabis farm was located in the house set in place by some Mancunians.”
Police had recovered drugs and firearms when they raided the cannabis farm some years before.
He continued: “He has been a keen hunting man for a great part of his life. He found the firearm in quite shallow earth while hunting with his dogs.”
Mr Topham linked the find to the former cannabis farm.
He added: “He took the gun back home because he is a keen gun owner.
“His intention was to hand it in because it would jeopardise his own firearms. He was going to hand it in to police but never got around to it.”
Katie Varlow, prosecuting, said the weapon had been found in a “shallow covered hole” a few years before police executed a warrant at Mr Lyle’s home in relation to firearms in April.
It had been crudely welded together using parts from different weapons to convert it from a shotgun to .22 rifle.
It only had a 12ins-14ins barrel but had been adapted with a large optical sight.
She added the police officer who examined the weapon, which had a wooden stock and rifle barrel within the shotgun barrel, “had never seen anything like it before.”
She continued: “The ammunition was described by the officer as military grade ammunition - often described as dum dums.
“There was a cartridge still in the barrel and it had been fired at some point.”
Lyle, of The Granary, Great Habton, near Malton, admitted three firearms offences involving the possession of the rifle and more than 100 rounds of military grade hollow point expanding bullets.
Magistrates declined jurisdiction of the case and Lyle was bailed to appear at York Crown Court for sentence on July 7 for the offences - which carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail.
Mr Topham said Lyle’s judgement had been affected by a number of family tragedies including the death of one of his two daughters.
An inquest heard last month that 23-month-old Lucy Lyle died when she pulled a TV set down on top of herself while watching Barney on Cbeebies with her sister at the family’s previous home in Beverley Road, Norton.