Man had taser disguised as mobile phone

Red Lion, 'Burnhope Way, 'Peterlee
Red Lion, 'Burnhope Way, 'Peterlee
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A TASER disguised as a mobile phone was uncovered after two brothers scuffled on a drunken night out.

Police arrived at the Red Lion in Peterlee to find John and Paul Matthews wrestling each other on a table outside.

John Matthews, 38, admitted a charge of possessing a weapon when he appeared before a court.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard Matthews, of Adrian Place in the town, had been invited by his sibling and pals on a rare night out.

Magistrates were told the taser was found during a search.

Deborah Hodge, prosecuting, said: “It was a dummy phone and had two prongs on the top of it, and has been examined and found to be a taser, capable of discharging quite a high number of volts.”

Kevin Campbell, mitigating, said Matthews, who works at Eden Farm Foods and lives with his mother, suffers from poor vision and used the device’s torch to guide his way home.

Trouble flared when he was refused entry to the pub because he was wearing tracksuit bottoms and training shoes and now “accepted he made a fool of himself and fell over twice”.

Mr Campbell added: “He used to make computers for people before this job, and people used to buy him things and somebody bought him this from Thailand in a gift set with a handkerchief and eau de toilette, and just thought it was a torch.

“He didn’t realise it was a taser at that stage, but accepts he had it.” He said the taser had never been used, and there was no intension to activate it.

Brian Thompson, chairman of the bench, said the fact drink had been involved and it was found in public were aggravating features.

Magistrates fined him £280 and ordered him to pay a £28 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

They also agreed to Mrs Hodge’s application for the taser to be forfeited and destroyed.

Paul Matthews, 40, received an absolute discharge in relation to the case.