James and John Patterson, of Patterson’s Body Repair, say they were left ‘white as ghosts’ when officers demanded to see a gun that the pair had been working on. Explaining how it came to be in their possession, James said: “I was taking a car from a guy to work on, and he asked if I wanted to touch up his paintball gun. So, I asked if it was legal, and then agreed to do it and have it looking great by the end. A few days later I was sitting in the office when two police vehicles came in, they grabbed me and asked if I had a gun. I nearly fainted. I was terrified.”
In all the confusion, James ‘forgot all about’ the paintball gun and claimed innocence. But the penny then dropped and he pointed officers to the weapon. After checking it over, they cleared that it was a replica and only suitable for recreational use with paintballs. The brothers later discovered that it was a family friend that had reported them – but they took the news in good humour.
The G3 replica is just one of many unusual restoration items the siblings have worked on and the list also includes a crown, a plane, a pair of shoes and a carriage that was used as part of the 2012 Olympics. The owner of the gun, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “It is categorically a one off. “I built it myself in 2007, it is handbuilt. I knew what I was doing as I am ex-military and I based it on the G3, which is obviously a military weapon, but it is defunct. The gun, when fully equipped, features a 25 metre laser sight and a spot torch with thumb sensor to activate it.”
After getting the all clear, James and his brother John now plan to strip down the gun and repaint the bulk of it to have it looking as close to the original G3 as possible. James said: “We do some weird stuff here, as well as the cars, but the crown for the Annan Riding of the Marches and the paintball gun are up there as being the weirdest.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm that officers called at a garage premises in Annan earlier in November after a report was received relative to a suspected firearm being seen on the premises. “The item was found to be a paintball gun and the matter was dealt with as a false alarm with good intent.”