A MAN who complained to police over threats made to him and his family was found to have two disguised Taser stun guns in his home.

Officers looking into the complaint were handed Mark Lee’s mobile phone to examine the alleged threatening messages sent to him.

But, while inspecting the phone contents, police came across footage of Lee and another man involved in “horseplay” with a Taser.

Durham Crown Court was told on their return to his home, Lee openly directed officers to the Tasers, disguised to look like torches.

They were found still in their boxes above a fireplace and in a kitchen cupboard, both in working order.

The defendant, 41, of Walker Lane, Newton Aycliffe, admitted two counts of possessing a prohibited/disguised firearm.

John Turner, for Lee, conceded there is a mandatory minimum sentence of up to five years, except in exceptional circumstances.

But, he argued that the situation the defendant found himself in early last year was “exceptional”.

The court was told Lee had given evidence at court in the case of a man who was subsequently acquitted.

Mr Turner said: “There’s a background of extreme violence being threatened towards him, by others.

“He received, through his letter box, two shotgun cartridges, and he took that as a warning threat, so he went to police to report that, as he had also received messages warning him of the exceptional danger he was in.

“In doing so, he handed his phone over to police so they could see those messages.

“It was when they opened it, that the video became apparent.”

Mr Turner said it was the other man who gave the devices, which were not lethal, to Lee, the day before the police visit.

Judge Jonathan Carroll agreed there were, “wholly exceptional circumstances” and passed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 20 probation-run rehabilitation activity days.

Lee was also made subject of a six-month electronically-monitored 8pm to 8am home curfew.