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No jail for man with gun in bag; 21-yr-old bought weapon abroad.

Byline: By ELWYN ROBERTS

A WREXHAM man who stashed a stun gun in his washbag yesterday escaped spending NewYear in jail.

Christopher Carr told police he bought the weapon in a shop while on holiday in Bulgaria - but didn't realise it was illegal to bring it back to the UK.

The 21-year-old was found out when North Wales police stopped a van he was driving. Yesterday self-employed Carr, of St James' Court, Rhosddu near Wrexham, admitted possessing a prohibited weapon and received a nine month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work, with pounds 680 costs.

Judge John Rogers QC warned that illegally possessing any firearm, even a stun gun, resulted in a prison sentence.

The judge said it was conceded by the crown that they could not contradict his claim that he had purchased the stun gun while on holiday in Bulgaria and had it in his possession for about two weeks.

He had never attempted to use it, and it was accepted that on his arrest he was taking the stun gun with him because it incorporated a torch. The defendant was a working man of good character.

The judge told him: "Understand, you could now be beginning an immediate custodial sentence." Caroline Harris, prosecuting at Mold Crown Court, told how police stopped a van containing five men following reports of suspicious activity by a CCTV operator in Wrexham, on July 20. All five were arrested. Interviewed, Carr said that they were all on their way to a music festival and the reason he had the stun gun with him was because it incorporated a torch.

Examination showed that it did have a torch. Defending barrister Mr John Hedgecoe said that his client was a man of no previous convictions or cautions.

The stun gun had been purchased in a shop in Bulgaria in the summer.

His client had been on holiday there, had bought it for about pounds 10, and brought it back home not realising that they were illegal in the UK.

The defendant was self-employed, doing pipework for United Utilities.

Mr Hedgecoe said that at the time the defendant was driving a van containing others to the Abersoch area and he did not know his coaccused.

They had a mutual friend who had not been arrested.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 29, 2007
Words:391
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