BRIDGWATER and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has voiced his dismay at having to miss out on the shooting season this winter.

The MP, who is a descendant of Queen Victoria, has had to hand in his weapons after forgetting to renew his firearms licence.

In his tirade Mr Liddell-Grainger accused Avon and Somerset police of 'utter incompetence' after being told it will take no less than 16 weeks to issue a new one.

The Conservative MP was sent a reminder by the force that the certificate for his rifles and shotguns had run out.

“Forgetting to check and renew a licence in time is a simple mistake that anyone can make – and I make mistakes like everyone else,” he said.

Mr Liddell-Grainger, Conservative member for Bridgwater and West Somerset, was sent a reminder by the force that the certificate for his rifles and shotguns had run out.

“I’ve told the police I am handing the guns in for safe keeping and they are happy with that. But I cannot believe how long it’s going take to deal with a simple renewal of an existing certificate.

“I’ve got the form and I’ve filled it in but you cannot simply hand these things in at your local police station any more: they have to be posted off. When I rang the police to see how long it would take to get the new permit I was absolutely appalled.

“Sixteen weeks to complete one piece of paperwork looks like utter incompetence. I told the officer I thought it was an unrealistically long time and he just said the police had lots of other things to do. I could almost hear the shrug down the phone.

“When I mentioned the fact that I was a MP it was suggested that if the Government gave the force some more money they might be able to get these things done more quickly.”

While waiting for the weeks to roll round until March 1 – the scheduled date for the new certificate to be issued - Mr Liddell-Grainger says he plans to raise the matter with Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

“It’s not so serious for me because I only shoot for a hobby. But for gamekeepers or farmers with vermin problems who could easily find themselves in a similar situation 16 weeks is a totally unacceptable delay,” he said.

Avon and Somerset Police said they would not be comment on Mr Liddell-Grainger's views.