A man has been jailed for two and a half years for having stun gun hidden in his static caravan capable of delivering a 7,200volt shock.
A court was told Craig Kenny was unaware of the exact nature of the weapon because it was disguised as a mobile phone.
Possessing a disguised firearm carries a minimum sentence of five years, but a judge at Teesside Crown Court decided there were exceptional circumstances in Kenny’s case.
The stun gun was found when police searched a static caravan at Crimdon Dene.
“The defendant was living in it at the time,” said Shaun Dryden, prosecuting.
“In the bedroom of the caravan there was a fitted wardrobe, and in that wardrobe there was a box.
“In the box was what is described as a taser-style stun gun, disguised as a mobile phone.
“There were two short prongs on the device which a police firearms expert later calculated were capable of delivering 7,200volts.”
The court heard police were unable to make the stun gun work.
“It had a rechargeable battery and a torch function.” said Mr Dryden.
“The firearms expert attempted to charge the battery, but was unable to make the device work.
“It was a not functioning disguised firearm, but possessing it still carries the minimum sentence of five years.”
Kenny, 29, of Collingwood Street, Hartlepool, admitted possessing a disguised firearm on June 22, last year.
He has previous convictions for offences of violence, and for breaching football banning orders.
Kelly Lodge, defending, said in mitigation: “This item was not working, and was put in the caravan by the defendant’s uncle.
“The defendant had no real knowledge of it, his father told him his uncle had used it on the beach as a torch - it does have a torch function.
“It was kept hidden away in the box in the caravan, no one knew it was there, let alone did anyone have any intention to use it.
“Not that it could be used because it wasn’t working.
“Mr Kenny had an unfortunate childhood, but to his credit he turned himself around and took an apprenticeship as an electrician.
“He works hard at that, and has the opportunity of a Ministry of Defence contract in the New Year,
“Mr Kenny now lives with his mother, and helps to look after her.”
Judge Simon Bourne Arton jailed Kenny for 30 months.
The judge told him: “Some may regard the minimum sentence provision of five years as harsh, but it is there for a reason.
“I am persuaded there are some exceptional circumstances in this case, the weapon did not work, it was never produced, and it was left in the caravan by a relative, the fact of which you were largely unaware.
“But while five years would be inappropriate in this case, it does have to be immediate custody.”
The stun gun was confiscated and will be destroyed.
A spokeswomen for CLeveland Police said: “Anyone unlawfully possessing a firearm faces prosecution if caught.
“Only last month we ran an amnesty whereby over 50 items were surrendered which included 17 shotguns.
“Removal of all such items reduces the risk of them falling into the hands of criminals, and whilst Cleveland doesn’t have a large incidence of gun-crime, anyone caught in possession of a firearm or purporting to be in possession of a firearm will be prosecuted.”