Pensioner, 72, suffers heart attack in prison just days after being jailed for selling mince pies in lockdown

17 November 2022, 14:55 | Updated: 17 November 2022, 15:46

Maurice Snelling was jailed after selling mince pies at a shooting club
Maurice Snelling was jailed after selling mince pies at a shooting club. Picture: Cloudside shooting club/Getty

By Kit Heren

A seriously ill man in his 70s has been rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack, just five days on from going to prison for breaching lockdown to sell mince pies.

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Maurice Snelling, 72, was jailed after serving mince pies and alcohol in a Staffordshire shooting club while the area was in Tier 3 Covid rules - meaning that he was breaking regulations.

He said that he thought he was in the more lenient Tier 2, in which case his actions would have been allowed.

Mr Snelling, who also tried to destroy CCTV footage and ignored police requests to look at it, was sentenced to six months in prison earlier this month, despite being sick and on the waiting list for a heart transplant.

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He had a cardiac arrest in prison and will have emergency surgery - before being put back behind bars.

A spokesperson for the Cloudside shooting and sports club said: "We have been informed that Mr Maurice Snelling, aged 72, suffered a heart attack sometime on Sunday, 13th November 2022.

"Mr Snelling was imprisoned for six months after pleading guilty to 'perverting the course of justice' on 8th November 2022, following a case relating to breaching Tier 3 Covid rules in 2020, serving food and drink at Cloudside Shooting Grounds during the lockdown.

"Mr Snelling has had ongoing heart health issues and two previous heart attacks and was on a waiting list for a heart operation when convicted.

"Mr Snelling is to undergo heart surgery at an undisclosed hospital and is not allowed to receive any visitors. After recovering from surgery, Mr Snelling will be returned to prison to complete his sentence. The club has no further statement at this time."

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Under Tier 3 rules, the shooting club was not allowed to serve food on site - only drive through. Mr Snelling said he thought he was in Tier 2 because the club had a Cheshire postcode - although it was actually in neighbouring Staffordshire.

Snelling also tried to destroy CCTV evidence and ignored both emailed and written requests by Staffordshire Police to look at the CCTV footage that proved he was at the club.

His defence lawyer said at the trial that Mr Snelling was ill and had suffered several heart attacks.

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But judge David Fletcher said the pensioner should go to prison.

Slapping Mr Snelling with the jail sentence, the Judge said: "This offence strikes at the heart of justice. [Mr Snelling is] anti-establishment, especially to the police.

"He doesn’t like being told what to do. He treated police with resentment."