Stun gun kept in airing cupboard

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A FORMER paratrooper had a stun gun and a CS gas canister at his home in Burnley, a court was told.

Father-of-two Howard Shaw (49) kept the taser-type device and the canister in an airing cupboard in his bedroom and told police he had bought the stun gun off a man in a pub. He claimed he had had the canister for ages and had almost forgotten about it.

Burnley Crown Court heard how police found the weapons on June 19th, last year, when the defendant had been arrested on suspicion of exposure. He was later given 12 weeks in jail, suspended for a year, after being convicted of that offence, by Burnley magistrates.

Jobless Shaw, of Green Street, Burnley, admitted two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon and one allegation of possessing cannabis and had been committed for sentence by the lower court. He was given a four-month conditional discharge by Recorder Paul Lawton, who said: “In my judgement, if all these matters had been dealt with together, the penalty would have been the same.”

Stephen Parker (prosecuting) said police searched the defendant’s home on Green Street and found the taser and a silver canister containing some sort of substance in his bedroom.

A firearms officer confirmed the taser was a stun gun, it had an electrical current passing through it and the battery appeared to be fully charged.

Mr Parker said the defendant told police he had been threatened previously and bought the stun gun in a pub relatively recently, but declined to say who it was from. Shaw said he was aware both that and the CS gas canister were prohibited weapons. The prosecutor added: “There is no suggestion he has used them.”

Mr Tim Brennand (defending) said he had served in 2 Para and had also worked for British Rail. He had become estranged from his wife and had had his difficulties. The barrister continued: “He has become something of an isolated loner. I’m afraid he drinks far too much for his own good.”

Mr Brennand said the defendant was currently unemployed, but wanted to work. He had fallen into the recreational use of cannabis. The barrister added: “He’s the sort of person that realises he is being foolish. He has real insight into his offences.”