Sunderland holidaymaker found with knuckleduster in luggage

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A holidaymaker ended up in court after bringing a knuckleduster home through airport security.

Michael Thomas Harrison was returning from a break in Bulgaria when he was stopped at Newcastle Airport, city magistrates were told.

He stated he did not realise it was offensive at all – he has made some inquiries, but that was in a different country.

Anna Haq, defending

Paul Anderson prosecuting, said Harrison had been asked by a customs officer whether he had anything to declare and he replied , ‘no,’ but a search of his luggage had revealed the weapon.

He said he did not know a knuckleduster was an offensive weapon,” said Mr Anderson.

Harrison had told officials ‘I did ask the man who was selling it if it was okay to take it home. He said it was okay if I left it in my suitcase.

‘I thought it was okay – I did not realise it was not.’

That was no excuse, said Mr Anderson. He told the court: “Newcastle Airport is a public place, so he is guilty of the offence whether he knows it or not.”

Harrison, 25, of Cranleigh, Hylton Castle, admitted possession of an offensive weapon.

Anna Haq, defending, said he had not bought the knuckleduster to use as a weapon.

She said: “He went to Bulgaria, there were loads of stalls with ornamental decorated items.

“He has seen this knuckleduster, which was ornamental, and the only reason he has bought that is for a souvenir.

“He stated he did not realise it was offensive at all – he has made some inquiries, but that was in a different country.”

“He is not going to be ignoring this particular law again.”

Magistrates adjourned the case to June 16 for the preparation of probation reports and Harrison was released on unconditional bail.