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Sunderland holidaymakers who brought home disguised stun guns and knuckle dusters have tough jail sentence appeals dismissed

Joshua Nicholson (left) and Adam Hunting
Joshua Nicholson (left) and Adam Hunting

Two youths who returned from holiday with disguised stun guns and knuckle dusters in their luggage have been told they cannot complain about their tough sentences.

“Naive” travellers, Adam Hunting, 22, and Joshua Nicholson, 20, were arrested after walking through customs at Newcastle Airport in July last year.

Hunting had an electric stun gun, disguised as a mobile phone, a knuckle duster and extendable baton, London's Appeal Court heard.

And Nicholson’s luggage contained a similarly disguised stun gun and a knuckle duster.

Hunting, of Redmond Road, Red House, Sunderland, and Nicholson, of Rennie Road, Red House, were sentenced to 20 months at Newcastle Crown Court in July.

They admitted possessing disguised firearms, evading customs controls and possessing offensive weapons.

Their cases reached London’s Appeal Court today as they challenged their punishments, claiming they were far too tough.

Mr Justice William Davis said neither man realised they were breaking the law until they were arrested.

“The stun guns were designed to administer a non-lethal electric shock” and were capable of “causing pain and affecting muscle control without causing harm”.

Hunting said the shopkeeper who sold him the stun gun in Turkey had “demonstrated” it on him and it only caused "a minor sensation when held against his skin”.

Both Hunting and Nicholson were “normally decent young men”, said the judge, who was sitting with Mr Justice Lewis.

Each realised they were not buying mobile phones, the court heard, but viewed the items as “joke phones”.

The judge accepted the stun guns were “not powerful”, but said there was an element of deterrence to the punishments imposed.

“They were, in their different ways, sensible and reasonable men,” said Mr Justice Davis.

“But they each committed an offence involving the purchase and possession of a prohibited weapon.

“It is also worth mentioning that they brought other offensive weapons into the country.

“In our judgement, it cannot be said that the judge fell into error and, in those circumstances, both appeals must be dismissed.”