Traveller sentenced for guns, knives and tear gas at airport

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 January 2011

View of Bristol Airport A38 Entrance.; 9-4-08

View of Bristol Airport A38 Entrance.; 9-4-08

Archant

A 'REALLY stupid' traveller was sentenced this week for taking guns, knives and tear gas through customs at Bristol Airport.

Christopher Mitch was caught with the weapons when his luggage was searched at the Lulsgate site in August.

The 25-year-old had arrived on a flight from the Philippines with the three stun guns, two butterfly knives and the pepper spray canister in his suitcase.

At a hearing at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges on Tuesday he told magistrates how he had bought the items because they were ‘boy’s toys’ and only cost ‘a couple of quid’ and he had intended to give one of the items to his brother.

He added that he had gone through customs twice in the Philippines without being questioned.

David Hunter, prosecuting, said: “When the defendant arrived at Bristol Airport he was asked by UK Border Agency officers if he understood the restrictions on taking various items like knives and firearms into the UK and he said he did, but that he didn’t have any on him.

“When his luggage was searched the items were found.

“The stun guns were live.

“A forensic experts has said that the spray was a type of tear gas and was in working order and that the stun gun, if it made contact with a person for three to five seconds could immobilise them and make them dazed and weak for several minutes.”

Mitch, of Peek Meed in Lyme Regis, was faced with two charges of possessing a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid, gas or electrical incapacitation device and one of possessing an offensive weapon.

He was handed a 12-month conditional discharge with 120 hours unpaid work requirement and was ordered to pay £85 costs.

Chair of the bench John Kane ordered the destruction of all the items and added: “A custodial sentence could have been imposed, but we accept you are a man of good character and this was really stupid.”

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