A GUN shop owner has hit out after council chiefs ordered him to remove metal grilles from his business's front window.

Stuart Sykes, who owns Blue Moon Trading in Goodramgate, York, said today he put the grilles up as a security measure to prevent break-ins, and he was "baffled" by City of York Council's actions.

"We would like to know why they are picking on us when grilles have gone up in other shops on this street without any action being taken," he said.

The shop moved 14 months ago from 5A Goodramgate to its current location at 38 Goodramgate.

Mr Sykes said there was an issue with grilles at the old location, but on appeal the council agreed to allow him to keep them in place until the lease ended.

He said: "This saga has been going on for nine years. It's just part of our lives now."

The shop, which sells a range of air guns as well as knives and samurai swords, is fully insured, but Mr Sykes says that without the grilles in place, "no insurance company will touch us".

He has now appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the council's enforcement notice. He insisted the grilles, which cost nearly £4,000, were there for public safety.

He said: "We've spoken to the police who said that it would be ridiculous not to have the grilles up.

"Without them some barmy idiot will smash the window and take a samurai sword or a knife!"

Nigel Walker, who rents out flats above Blue Moon Trading, said: "The grilles are there for everyone's safety.

"They don't spoil the look of the building and are there to prevent the window being smashed and the products in the shop getting into the wrong hands."

He said the planning inspectorate's decision was due next February.

A council spokeswoman said it took enforcement action against the Blue Moon Trading Company after it put internal window bars up on a listed building.

"The company has appealed against the action and the final decision will be taken by a government-appointed inspector," she said.

"No date has been set for the hearing as yet."

Earlier this year, The Press reported that Mr Sykes had been placed on City of York Council's Staff Warning Register after allegedly threatening a council worker with a rifle.

Mr Sykes was accused of pointing the replica rifle at an officer in October last year when he told him to leave the premises.

He admitted to having a "heated discussion" with the officer and said he had been cleaning the rifle at the time, but denied pointing the gun at him.