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Police on hunt for drugs found Taser-like guns at Paul Hardcastle’s home
A BUSINESSMAN who kept Taser-like guns in his garage so he could frighten burglars has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, said police raided Paul Hardcastle’s home on May 9.
But instead of the drugs they were looking for, they found two charged stun guns and cartridges for loading them.
Hardcastle told police officers he had bought the weapons over the internet from the USA and they had been delivered by the postman through his letterbox.
He kept them to frighten intruders if they broke into his home and he never intended to fire them.
When he had checked them a week before the police raid, they were fully charged.
He told police he had never used the weapons and had no intention of taking them out of his house and using them to commit offences.
Recorder David Bradshaw told Hardcastle: “The circulation of any type of firearm, however they are obtained, is a matter of concern for the courts.
“By purchasing these items, albeit simply over the internet, and being in possession of them whatever you intended yourself, always carries a risk of other people getting their hands on them and then using them for crime.”
He accepted Hardcastle’s claim that he never intended to use them to commit offences outside his home, but was “sceptical” about Hardcastle’s claim that he would never have used them against burglars in his house because the businessman had bought ammunition for them.
Hardcastle, 47, of Beckfield Lane, Acomb , pleaded guilty to three firearms offences relating to stun guns and the cartridges.
He was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years with a condition that he does 150 hours’ unpaid work. He must also pay £535 prosecution costs. No drugs were found at his house.
His solicitor, Kevin Blount, said: “He accepts that the decision to buy both firearms and the ammunition was an extremely foolish decision.”