Man caught with a 12in machete in the footwell of a Norwich taxi

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A man had a 12in machete wrapped in a carrier bag in a foot well of a Norwich taxi, a court heard.

Manley Vidal, 25, of Wellington Green, Norwich, claimed he had just bought the machete to use as an ornament, but Norwich magistrates found him guilty of possessing a bladed article in a public place.

Jane Foster, prosecuting, said that police stopped and searched Manley in Bull Close, Norwich, on July 27, this year.

She said he immediately told officers about the machete in the taxi and said: 'There is something in the car in my bag. I am taking it home as an ornament.'

Ms Foster said that the officers found the machete, which had a 12in blade and a wooden handle, and Vidal told police it had cost him £16.99.

Officers found the weapon was wrapped in a carrier bag in the footwell of the taxi.

He was also found in possession of a small amount of cannabis, which was for his personal use.

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The court heard he admitted possession of the cannabis, but had denied the weapon charge.

Debbie Reynolds, for Vidal, said he had bought the machete and was taking it back to his home.

'He had bought the item lawfully and was transporting it home.'

She said he did not have a house key and so had taken it with him in the taxi.

She added: 'It is not in his possession it is in a footwell of a taxi.'

She said there was no suggestion it was being used inappropriately and said the weapon was being kept in a bag and not on open show.

Vidal declined to go into the witness box and give evidence, but relied on statements he made at the time of his arrest.

However chairman of the bench Susan Alexander said that magistrates found him guilty of the offence of having a bladed article in a public place and adjourned sentence for three weeks until November 1 for reports.

She granted him bail and warned him that all options including custody would be open to the court.

The court heard that Vidal had a number of previous convictions against him. but nothing very recent.