A MAN found with a stun gun in the form of a torch claimed he thought the weapon was a fishing tool.
Mark Jones said he found the stun gun among a bag of junk he bought at a car boot sale and was told it was a tool used to stun potential catch while fishing.
The 29-year-old of Halstead Square, Hylton Lane estate, said he had only used the weapon on one occasion as a torch, while searching for items under his bed.
Newcastle Crown Court, however, heard the weapon was a “dangerous” electronic stun gun disguised as a torch.
When activated, it produced blue sparks and emitted an electrical discharge, which would be dangerous even when used legitimately.
Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting, said: “In the defendant’s home was an electrical stun gun in the form of a torch. The torch and stun gun can be operated separately by buttons.
“When it was tested, the stun gun activated an electrical discharge, and blue sparks could be seen.”
When interviewed by police, Jones said: “What purpose would it be if someone was coming at you trying to chop you up and it doesn’t fire anything?”
He claimed he did not realise it would be classed as a weapon and that he used it simply as a torch, which was why he bought it in the first place.
The court heard that police searched Jones’s home as part of a drugs investigation on April 27 last year and found the stun gun, but no drugs charges were ever brought against him.
Graham Cook, mitigating, said: “He obtained it at a car boot sale. It was in a £15 bag of junk.
“He said ‘What’s that? I don’t really want it’, to which he was told it was a torch and a gun you use to stun fish.
“He only used it as a torch on one occasion, when he was looking for something else under the bed where he kept it.”
Jones pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon.
He was given eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Sentencing him, Judge Simon Hickey said: “It’s a dangerous weapon.
“A stun gun used legitimately by the police causes harm. You must have known how dangerous it was.”