By Georgie Keate
A Tory minister has defended a homeowner in his constituency after he was arrested for allegedly shooting a gang of suspected burglars during a break-in.
Alan Duncan said the man, known locally as Andy Ferrie, is a victim in his isolated farmhouse and should not be prosecuted for defending himself.
"If this is a straightforward case of someone using a shotgun to defend themselves against burglars in the dead of night, then I would hope that the police will prosecute the burglars and not my constituents," said Duncan.
“The householder is the victim here, and justice should support them and prosecute the burglars.”
Police were called to the scene by a man reporting a group of intruders had broken into his home in Welby, Leicestershire on Sunday. He also told police that he had fired a legally held shotgun to scare the gang away.
However, five minutes later, the ambulance was called to a man suffering from shotgun injuries. Another man was later admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary with similar injuries. Both were arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary.
Ferrie and his wife Tracey were also arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.
The incident comes amid confusion over the definition of self-defence. The now ex-justice minister Ken Clarke said people were entitled to use "whatever force necessary" to defend their homes.
"What they are not entitled to do is to go running down the road and chasing them or to shoot them in the back when they are running away or to get their friends together and beat them up," he said last year.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said that “homeowners and shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted”.
“People are not obliged to retreat when defending themselves or their homes.”
Labour have said that any government changes to the law are a "smokescreen" as the law is already clear that homeowners may use reasonable force to defend their homes and themselves.