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Piece of wood was to settle dispute with

PUBLISHED: 17:02 20 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:36 02 July 2010

A court has heard how a man was caught carrying a piece of wood for his own protection after he went to settle a dispute.

A court has heard how a man was caught carrying a piece of wood for his own protection after he went to settle a dispute.

Martin Copland, 41, of Horsford Street, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty to being in possession of an offensive weapon, a piece of wood, in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.

Denis King, prosecuting, said that police were called to Philadelphia Lane, Norwich, at about 8.15pm on January 3 to reports of a man at an address with a piece of wood.

Mr King said officers saw Copland drinking from a bottle of vodka with a 2ft long piece of wood concealed in the back of his jacket. He was also heard to say “I've got a dispute with him up there and came to sort it out”.

When interviewed by police Copland admitted being there, but could not remember saying what he did. However he did admit he had an issue “but wouldn't say what or who the issue was over”.

Mr King added: “He said he had it (the wood) for his own protection and would have only used it for self defence it he needed it.”

The court heard that Copland had separated from a partner who got involved with another man before she got back with the defendant.

Jamieson Plummer, mitigating, said the man, who lived in London but has an address in Norwich, had made threats to Copland and his partner.

Mr Plummer said: “He had been drinking and intended to confront this man to stop the threats being made. It was his partner who called the police as she was worried that a fight might take place.”

He said Copland, who accepts he had the piece of wood on him, did not threaten anyone with the piece of wood and only had it on him to protect himself “in case he was attacked”.

Charles Nevick, chairman of the bench, who said Copland was “daft” to have gone out with the piece of wood, fined him £100 for the offence, ordered him to pay £85 prosecution costs, plus a £15 victim surcharge.

An order was also made for the forfeiture and destruction of the piece of wood.

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