From the Firearms Act 1968 :-
19 Carrying firearm in a public place.
A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place
[F5(a)a loaded shot gun,
(b)an air weapon (whether loaded or not),
(c)any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm, or
(d)an imitation firearm.]
It is an offence to carry an airgun in a public place Whether Loaded or Not without lawful authority.
There is nowhere I can find in the actual law that says a loaded airgun is illegal when an unloaded one would be legal.
unless you can point me to the section/paragraph?
No idea where the 7 years imprisonment thing comes from - urban myth?