They have a love-hate relationship in animated comedy The Simpsons, and it seems that in real life their bond is just as complicated.

A man called Barton Simpson has appeared in front of a judge named Mr Burns in Warwick Crown Court.

Simpson, a company director from of Eccleshall, Staffordshire, stood trial accused of possessing a prohibited firearm at Birmingham airport in May 2012.

The 56-year-old defendant claimed that he only had the gun - which he inherited from his father - on him after forgetting to lock it inside his car.

"The reason he said he had [the gun] with him, and there is no reason to disagree, was that he was having work done on his flat while he was traveling and did not want it to come into the hands of the decorator," said prosecutor Andrew Wilkins.

Simpson was spared jail time and sentenced to 12 months of community service including 140 hours of unpaid work. Burns also ordered him to pay court fees of £800.

"It's a bizarre coincidence that Bart Simpson is actually on trial in front of Mr Burns but it'll proceed as any other criminal case would," a court worker said.

"There were some eyebrows raised when the court list was published."

Bart Simpson is the fictional mischievous son of Homer while Burns, is his frequent nemesis, the billionaire nuclear power plant owner who employs his dad.