A MAN who was found with a CS gas canister told magistrates he had confiscated it from a group of kids.
Paul Bennett told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court that he got out of a minibus at a pub when he smelled “something funny” coming from a group of youngsters nearby.
The 44-year-old said he discovered they were playing with a CS gas canister and took it off them.
But when police were called to a domestic incident involving Bennett hours later, he was discovered with the weapon and was arrested.
He was also found to be carrying a small quantity of cocaine.
Prosecuting, Lorraine Cooper told justices: “It was around 12.30am when police attended Thornville Road following a domestic incident.
“The defendant was located on the road and was arrested. He was searched and a CS gas canister was found on his person.
“He was taken to Hartlepool Police Station where he was searched again and a small amount of white powder was discovered and it was found to be cocaine.”
She added: “When the defendant was interviewed he stated that the CS gas was something that he had just found. He said he’d been dropped off at a public house and saw some young children. He smelled something funny near to the children and he got the canister from one of the young children and went into the public house.
“He said his intention was to hand it in to a police officer, however, he had forgotten that it was on him.”
Bennett, of Milton Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid or gas, and possession of cocaine, both on November 27 last year.
Mitigating, Peter Copsey said: “You can see from his record that he was in quite a lot of trouble as a youth. He now has a good job and works in a local store.
“He took this canister off a group of youths and put it in his pocket. Two hours later he was stopped by police.”
He added: “It was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Now he has this on his record.”
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Peter Heron fined him £110, ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.