Sunderland man in court after baton and drugs found at home

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A family man oblivious to new weapons laws was caught with a now-illegal extendable baton when police raided his home, a court heard.

Anthony Stokell, 35, was absent when officers came unannounced to his then abode in Elmwood Avenue, Marley Potts, on Monday, March 4.

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Let in by an associate, they found the cosh downstairs and a stash of cocaine, cannabis and 56 pregabalin tablets at other locations inside.

Stokell, now of Ridley Street, Southwick, was later arrested but there was no suggestion the baton, made illegal in domestic settings under new 2021 legislation, had been used with violence.

Mr Payne also accepted the drugs were for personal use, telling magistrates in South Tyneside: “As part of a planned operation, police conducted a search.

“They were let into the address by another gentleman. In various locations, they found drugs.

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“Found downstairs was an extendable baton, which is an offensive weapon under new legislation in a private place.

“This gentleman was interviewed and has accepted his possession of the drugs which we accept were for personal use.

“He’s an individual who had a lot of problems when younger and was in the youth court.

“He was last before the adult court in 2018 for abusive behaviour and since then has been out of trouble.”

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Stokell pleaded guilty to three counts of drug possession and one of possession of an offensive weapon in a private place.

Annalisa Moscardini, defending, said: “The baton was not used or brandished.

“There’s a lot of people who have items in their home that are now illegal after 2021. He wasn’t aware it was illegal, but he is now.

“The drugs were for personal use, it’s not a large amount and he’s not a regular user. He was silly to have had them.

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“He has a partner and a family that he cares for. He was last in trouble in 2006 as a youth and in 2018 it was an issue with a neighbour.” 

Magistrates fined Stokell £80, with £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge, and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and the confiscation of the baton.

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