A holidaymaker caught trying to import CS gas, batons and stun guns ‘for a prank’ has been handed a suspended sentence.
Gary Wilson was intercepted by staff at Newcastle Airport as he returned home from a holiday to Bulgaria last summer.
The 51-year-old was stopped by customs officers who uncovered the haul of weapons bought as gifts and to prank his friends while searching his suitcase.
A total of eight stun torches and another stun device were discovered alongside five CS gas canisters and two extendable batons bought as gifts and for ‘messing around’ with friends.
During police interview, the 51-year-old confessed he had hidden the items in his case because he knew he shouldn’t have brought them into the country – but thought it was worth the risk.
Wilson appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday, October 30 where he was handed a suspended sentence for the offences.
Following the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Mick Kirtley from the North East Regional Special Operation Unit (NERSOU) warned shoppers they would face serious consequences if they tried to bring prohibited weapons into the UK and urged they learn the law before it’s too late.
“We take a strong stance against anyone who buys, sells or imports offensive weapons such as CS gas, stun devices and knives – and will continue to work alongside our partners to ensure items like this do not make it into our communities,” he said.
“The law is in place to keep us all safe and just because you’re abroad or see something for sale online in another country, it does not mean you can legally possess the item here. Where we identify that such items have been imported you can expect a visit from police and expect to be prosecuted.
“These items are not toys, they are dangerous weapons and can have fatal consequences if they fall into the wrong hands.
“Ask yourself – is it worth risking a criminal conviction for a prank or a novelty purchase?”
Wilson, of Ridgeway in Birtley pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing prohibited weapons and one count of having an offensive weapon. He was sentenced to 16 months suspended for two years and given 211 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £450 in costs and a £140 surcharge at Newcastle Crown Court.