Norfolk businessman in court for weapons offences

Christine CunninghamA businessman who brought back a CS spray can and two Taser stun guns back from a trip to Thailand has been given a suspended jail sentence.Christine Cunningham

A businessman who brought back a CS spray can and two stun guns back from a trip to Thailand has been given a suspended jail sentence.

John Sayer, 45, who runs Canary Scaffolding, in Stratton Strawless, was found to have the can of CS spray and two stun weapons, one of which was made to look like a mobile phone, when police searched his business premises, where he also lives.

Norwich Crown Court heard on Friday that police also found amphetamine and cannabis, which was for Sayer's own use.

The court heard that as a result of the weapons that were seized, Sayer had lost his firearms licence, which he had legally held.

Sayer, admitted possession of cannabis and amphetamine and possession of prohibited weapons.

Judge Simon Barham accepted that Sayer had not planned to use the weapons, which were stored in a safe, but said the possession of prohibited weapons was extremely serious and could result in lengthy terms of imprisonment.

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'The fear is that they could possibly get into the hands of criminals,' said Judge Barham.

He added that Sayer had bought the weapons back from Thailand and thought they were legal, but stressed: 'They are capable of causing harm.'

However, he accepted there were exceptional circumstances and imposed a 26 week-jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to 160 hours unpaid work.

Judge Barham warned him: 'I'm sure this is a lesson to you and I hope to the wider public that these are not the type of things that should be in the hands of private citizens like you.'

Jonathan Morgans, for Sayer, said: 'He did not realise they were prohibited weapons.'

He said that Sayer had held a full firearms licence as shooting was his hobby, but said that he had lost his licence as a result of what happened.

'He would never have done anything to put that in jeopardy.'

He said that Sayer had kept the items locked in a safe: 'There was never a chance of anyone getting their hands on them.'

He said that Sayer had worked building up his business and employed four people and added: 'Without him the business would not survive.'

Mr Morgans said that the amphetamine and cannabis were for Sayer's own use as he often worked long hours and had taken the amphetamine to keep awake.

He said that Sayer had now stopped using any drugs.