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BODIE ARMOUR; Huge arms cache found at home of Professionals star.

Byline: JAMES SAVILLE

A CACHE of weapons has been found at the British home of actor Lewis Collins, who starred in The Professionals TV series.

Police took machine guns, pistols, shotguns and ammunition from his pounds 1million mansion after a tip-off from his estranged father who lived there.

Collins, 56 - famous as tough-guy Bodie in the cult Seventies series - is said to have developed a passion for guns after being given SAS training for the role.

He was fined pounds 300 in 1981 after firing a shotgun in his living room. His lawyer told magistrates that he had allowed his TV role to "take over for a moment".

Describing the recent police raid on his house in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, a source said: "Officers could not believe what they found. There were guns lying about everywhere. They were not kept under lock and key or in a proper cabinet - that was the whole danger of it. They were strewn about. It was frightening." Collins bought the house in the mid-Eighties with his father Bill, a songwriter and long-term friend of Paul McCartney's family.

But the pair later fell out over its ownership and Collins, who now lives in America with wife Michelle and three sons, is not believed to have stayed there for a number of years. He has not been charged over the raid. Bill is believed to have gone to the police about the weapons shortly before his death from a heart attack last month.

A friend said: "Their relationship was still very bitter and they never resolved their disagreements. But deep down Lewis loved his dad and flew over for the funeral."

Collins made a cameo appearance on ITV1's The Bill before returning to America.

The Professionals, which also starred Martin Shaw, ended in 1983 after a six-year run and Collins' career never really recovered. In 1986 he made a failed bid to play James Bond.

A spokesman for Collins said last night: "He does not wish to comment. He has not committed any crime or acted illegally."

CAPTION(S):

RAIDED: Collins's mansion. Right: In his hit TV role; STREWN ABOUT: Weapons like these; CAMEO: Collins in The Bill
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2002
Words:363
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