TWO Winchester gunmakers are calling time on their careers after running the second oldest shop in Winchester since 1989.

B.E. Chaplin, which has been in the city since 1932, will close its front doors for the last time on September 14 – but the workshop at the back will remain open for business.

Peter Burden, now 70 years old, joined Chaplin as an apprentice when he was just 15.

He met his business partner Laurie Hart, who is 69, when he joined as a manager, and they took ownership of the store together in August 1989.

Peter told the Echo: “We became very good friends and we enjoy spending time together.

“We’re calling it a day because of the High Street trend, and internet shopping. I thought it was going to be tougher, but now, I have my mind set on it, and I’m off to go sit in the sun and play more golf!”

The front of the building is to be sold, and the workshop out the back of the store, will be taken over by Alex Smith.

Alex joined Chaplin as an apprentice at 20, and Peter believes his 17 years of experience will keep the workshop, where customers can order custom-made weapons, “thriving”.

Peter continued: “We’ve made guns for some very exciting people – but I can’t tell you their names as most of them are still alive!

“We get a fair bit of custom from America, too. Somebody I know’s father had us build a rifle for his 21st birthday, and when he took it out there, they all wanted one.”

One of the most expensive guns Peter and Laurie have sold is a shotgun for £26,000, which translates to around £100,000 in today’s money.

Before the pair retire, Chaplin will be selling products at a discounted rate.