Money from This Gun Shop Helped to Buy Tee-Times at the Home of Golf.Onl45 Miles from Dunblane

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), October 20, 1996 | Go to article overview

Money from This Gun Shop Helped to Buy Tee-Times at the Home of Golf.Onl45 Miles from Dunblane


Byline: William Lowther;Peter Higgs

A SECRET [pounds sterling]5 million deal has been exposed linking one of the bastions of Scottish society with a law-breaking firearms business.

St Andrews Old Course - known as the home of golf and just 45 miles from Dunblane - is connected with an arms warehouse in America criticised for flouting rules over gun sales.

The news has outraged anti-gun campaigners after a week in which the Government was attacked for not going far enough in its crackdown on handheld weapons following the Dunblane massacre.

And it will shock a Scotland still reeling from the tragedy, in which 16 schoolchildren and a teacher were shot dead by gunman Thomas Hamilton. Last night John Crozier, whose five-year-old daughter Emma was murdered, called for a boycott of the links by golfers.

Action

`We have this respectable Scottish institution doing business with a company which is flouting America's gun laws and selling to juveniles and other non-auth-orised people,' he said. He demanded that the Links Trust, which runs the golf course, stop dealing with the company.

`I'm appalled at their attitude,' he added.

Mrs Ann Pearston, of the Dunblane Snowdrop Campaign to ban handguns, said: `If these people are flouting the laws in their own country and they are involved in the links, then it must be brought out into the open and British action taken.

`The Government here must surely look as to whether its trading licence here should be revoked. All these gun companies are companies of greed and power.'

The controversy centres on a contract between St Andrews Links Trust and the US-registered Pensus Group investment company.

Pensus is funding a deal, brokered by the London-based Keith Prowse Hospitality business, in which golfing excursions to St Andrews are sold off in corporate packages at up to [pounds sterling]1,390 a time.

In return for allocating the Pensus-Keith Prowse group more than 10,000 prime tee-off times over the next 10 years, the St Andrews Links Trust benefits by [pounds sterling]5 million.

The deal over the tee-times - conceived by old schoolfriends Peter Selby, managing director of Keith Prowse Hospitality, and Pensus chief David Maule-Ffinch - sparked outrage when exposed last year and led to calls to the Secretary of State for Scotland to disband the Links Trust. …

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