A MAN found with six machetes stashed in the back of his van claimed that he “didn’t realise they were there.”
During the hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, Alexander Dobbing’s own defence barrister admitted that the circumstances surrounding his arrest were “odd”.
The 35-year-old led police on a high-speed chase in Newbottle after being signalled to pull over on August 16 last year.
After Dobbing drove into a dead end, officers searched the vehicle and found the stash of weapons in the back of the van.
During his trial, Dobbing had claimed that he didn’t realise the weapons were there, a notion which was rejected by jurors.
Chris Knox, defending, said that the weapons found were less dangerous than carrying a knife.
He told the court: “These items are not stabbing implements which, in truth, do cause the most serious injuries.
“There’s a distinction to be drawn. They were purchased by his brother.
“They were in their wrapper, all except one.
“They were items which could potentially have illicit use, but it isn’t clear that there were any nefarious purpose.
“He didn’t realise they were there, but the jury haven’t accepted that.”
Mr Knox added: “The whole situation was one that is really rather odd and inexplicable.
“There’s no reason why the vehicle was driven in such a manner.”
Dobbing was pulled over after he was seen driving in the dark without his headlights on.
He was found guilty of dangerous driving, as well as having an article with a blade or point, and possession of six machetes.
Dobbing was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years
Judge Brian Forster told him: “You had these machetes with you, obviously in a public place without good reason.
“I’m suspicious as to what you were up to on the night in question.”
As part of his sentence Dobbing, of Burdon Walk, Castle Eden, County Durham, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
He was also given a four month curfew and fined £1,000.