Sunderland holidaymakers jailed for bringing home stun guns that looked like novelty iPhones

Adam Hunting
Adam Hunting

Two young holidaymakers who purchased "novelty" iPhones which were stun-guns in disguise have been jailed after bringing them into the UK.

Adam Hunting and Josh Nicholson were sold the weapons whilst on holiday in Turkey in July last year before being stopped by security once they touched down at Newcastle Airport.

Joshua Nicholson

Joshua Nicholson

The young men, neither of whom have any previous convictions, have now been jailed for 20 months after being convicted of weapon offences.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Hunting, 21, was due to go on holiday with his girlfriend - but after she pulled out of the trip, he decided to go with his 19-year-old friend Nicholson instead.

Whilst in Turkey, the pair went into a shop and were shown the stun-guns, the court heard.

The weapons, which were made to look like iPhones, gave out a sharp shock and were demonstrated on each of the defendants in the store.

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told the court: "At the airport, the stun guns were made safe by officers and examined by the National Crime Agency.

"The defendants say they thought that these were harmless novelties - but these defendants were in possession of other weapons such as the knuckle dusters and an extendable baton.

"The output of the stun guns were relatively low.

"In both their interviews the defendants admitted purchasing the items. They described them as joke phones and used them on themselves."

Hunting, of Redmond Road, and Nicholson, of Rennie Road, both Sunderland, each pleaded guilty to charges of possessing a disguised firearm, fraudulent evasion of a prohibition and possession of an offensive weapon.

Defence barrister Vic Laffey, who described his client Hunting and his family as being "bemused" at his arrest, said: "They do not conform to the definition of a firearm. But it does conform to the definition of a prohibited weapon.

"It will be disproportionate for this man to lose his liberty.

"He has lived an entirely blameless life. He has done everything that one can expect for someone in this position.

"It was a very foolish error in ignorance.

"He is in full time work and his made it his mission to continue to enhance his situation."

Jamie Adams, representing Nicholson, who has previously been cautioned by police for possessing a prohibited weapon he used for pest control, said that his client has no knowledge of the criminal justice system.

He said: "He is hardly a sophisticated offender. He is not someone who goes around causing trouble.

"He has always been liked and respected. He is a polite young man.

"Young men are fascinated with things like that.

"He is really quite terrified of the prospect of a custodial sentence."

Judge Robert Spragg explained that because of Parliament's views on firearm laws, he had no choice but to impose immediate custodial sentences for both of the defendants.

He said: "I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf.

"These offences have to be met with a sentence of custody. I would not be fulfilling my public duty if they were not.

"A message must go out to anyone wanting to purchase items such as these.

"The sentence I impose is as short as it can be."