SOCIETY could descend into anarchy if the public arm themselves with weapons including pepper spray, a judge has warned.

District Judge Martin Walker made the statement following the sentencing of Michael Andrew Race from Crook after he admitted assaulting a man who had confronted him at his home with a can of police issue spray in self defence. 

Judge Walker, sitting in Newton Aycliffe, said he accepted Race was provoked into attacking the man with spray but said he had crossed the line for self defence to be used as an excuse.

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Prosecutor John Garside said the victim suffered temporary minor injuries to his eyes after the altercation outside Race’s home on December 6.

Andrew Clinton said Race, 24, of Cedar Gardens, was repairing his motorcycle when his partner got a call from the man to say he was coming over to fight.

Mr Clinton said the pair were arguing over money and that the man turned up with several friends.

Fearing for his safety, Race, who pleaded guilty to assault by battery and possession of an offensive weapon, used a small amount of Pava spray on the man, the court heard.

The prosecution had asked for compensation to be considered but Judge Walker said it would not be appropriate as the other man had confronted Race outside his home and provoked him.

The judge said: “This is a case of over use of force in self defence but not sufficient for the defence of self defence to be made out.

“If everybody was able to arm themselves with items like this spray we would have anarchy in our country.”

Race was given a 12 month community order with supervision and ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.