Holidaymaker caught trying to bring high voltage stun guns, CS gas canisters and extendable batons into UK said they were for pranks with friends
- Gary Wilson from Gateshead was returning from a break in Bulgaria with his wife
- The 51-year-old was stopped by customs officers at Newcastle Airport last June
- Given suspended prison sentence as judge told him the devices ‘were not toys’
A middle-aged holidaymaker caught trying to import stun devices, CS gas canisters and batons said he only wanted them for gifts and ‘pranks’ with friends.
Gary Wilson was returning from a break in Bulgaria with his wife when he was stopped by customs officers at Newcastle Airport.
When the 51-year-old’s suitcase was searched, eight stun torches, another stun device, five CS gas canisters and two extendable batons were discovered.
He said he bought the shock devices because the ones he already owned were low on battery or broken as a result of him and his friends ‘messing around at work.’
Wilson, from Birtley, Gateshead, was given a suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court after a judge told him they were weapons, not toys.
The 51-year-old’s barrister told the court that his client was ‘too old to be behaving like this’.
Gary Wilson leaving Newcastle Crown Court where he was sentenced to 16 months suspended for two years with 211 hours of unpaid work
When the 51-year-old’s suitcase was searched, eight stun torches, another stun device, five CS gas canisters and two extendable batons were discovered
Philip Morley, prosecuting, said Wilson was stopped at the airport in June last year. He added: ‘He was asked if he was bringing any prohibited items into the country and he told the officers he was not.
‘The suitcase was searched and it revealed items including stun devices, gas canisters and extendable batons.
‘The defendant was arrested and interviewed by police and gave an explanation. He said he had been to Bulgaria with his wife on holiday and bought the items as gifts for friends.
‘He said they were not powerful enough to stun anybody and he and his friends would just have messed about with them. The stun devices were non lethal but have a high voltage.’
Wilson pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing prohibited weapons and one of having an offensive weapon and was sentenced to 16 months suspended for two years with 211 hours of unpaid work.
He must also pay £450 costs plus a £140 surcharge.
Judge Stephen Earl said he couldn’t understand why such items are lawfully on sale in other countries or ‘why on earth people think they can bring them into the country’, given there are clear indications at airports and ports they are prohibited.
The judge added: ‘These are not toys, they are weapons. But there was no malevolent intent, it was more foolish and misguided.’
Wilson pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing prohibited weapons and one of having an offensive weapon
Gavin Doig, defending, said: ‘He says it was nothing more than foolishness. He had no intention other than for he and his friends to play pranks on each other.
‘He is 51 years old and is too old to be behaving like this. He knows how foolish he was and he says he feels extremely remorseful and feels dreadful about it, it’s caused stress to himself and to his wife.
‘I’m confident he will not make this mistake again. He is in full time employment and a hard-working married man.’