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5 December 2015, 06:58
Holidaymakers have been warned not to bring back weapons as souvenirs after a Black Country man was jailed for 18 months for having a stun gun disguised as a torch and a knuckleduster in his suitcase.
Sentencing father-of-four Andrew Dempster, Judge Richard Bond said: ``Why you would want to go to a foreign country and bring back a stun gun and a knuckleduster, I've no idea.''
Dempster was stopped by customs and arrested air-side at Birmingham International Airport after returning from a trip to Turkey with his partner and daughter on July 4.
A luggage scan showed a knuckleduster in his case, and a further search then revealed the disguised stun gun.
The stun gun - which doubled as a working torch - was analysed by experts who concluded the electric shock produced was capable of incapacitating anyone it was used on.
The judge, jailing Dempster at Birmingham Crown Court, said: ``The public are well aware that stun guns are illegal in this country and I say that because it is public knowledge.
``I do not understand why people still choose to bring them into this country.
``They're not some foreign holiday memento to remind of good times spent on holiday.
``They are weapons which cause injury to people or may temporarily incapacitate them.''
Simon Rippon, in mitigation, said his 28-year-old client accepted doing something ``thoroughly stupid'' but had only bought the weapons as souvenirs to give to his step-father, as keepsakes.
``He thought it would be 'cool' for his step-dad to have these because he's drawn to these sorts of items,'' he added.
Dempster of St Marks Road, Tipton, in Dudley, West Midlands was also jailed for eight months for attempting to bring a knuckleduster into the country, with the prison term to be served concurrently.
He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge and a #180 criminal court charge.
Dawn Cartwright, head of the NCA's Birmingham border investigation team, said: ``These items aren't harmless souvenirs - they are dangerous weapons capable of causing serious harm, and just because they are readily available abroad does not make them safe or legal here.
``Bringing them back isn't worth the risk. You can end up with something much more serious to remember your holiday by - a criminal conviction or a jail sentence.''
Phillip Holliday, Border Force regional director, said: ``Although items like stun guns are more readily available in some countries, the controls on bringing them back into the UK are extremely strict because they are potentially lethal weapons.
``Our officers are on constant alert to stop offensive weapons entering the UK.
``The penalties for smuggling can be severe and ignorance of the law is not an excuse.''