POLICE made some interesting finds when they sifted through objects collected on a scrap man’s daily round, a court was told.

Among the items salvaged by officers from the assembled scrap on Lee James Robinson’s flat-bed truck were two taser-like stun guns, designed to resemble torches, a tin of incapacitant pepper spray and a knuckleduster.

Durham Crown Court, sitting at Newcastle, heard that among the explanations offered for their presence on his vehicle by Robinson were that a child had handed him the knuckleduster, earlier in the day, while other men must have placed the other prohibited items on the van without his knowledge.

The 47-year-old defendant, of Surtees Street, Bishop Auckland, was charged with three counts of being in possession of a prohibited weapon, relating to the two electric stun devices and the pepper spray, plus a single count of being in possession of an offensive weapon, the knuckleduster.

Appearing at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court, in March, he denied all charges.

A trial date was scheduled for May 6, but, due to the subsequent temporary suspension of jury hearings, due to social distancing rules, the case was put back to this week, at the court, now sitting at Newcastle.

Robinson changed his pleas to guilty, to all four charges.

The court was told police stopped the Ford Transit truck on Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, at 4.30pm on Saturday September 15, 2018.

In the search of the vehicle the tin of incapacitant pepper spray was recovered, bearing the words Mace Pepper Gel.

Two purple torches in black webbing pouches were also recovered and, following expert examination, it was confirmed they were operational stun devices, capable of emitting an electric charge.

In a further search the knuckleduster was also found.

Robinson was arrested and taken to a police station where, when interviewed, he claimed an 11-year-old child working on his scrap van that day had collected it among scrap metal.

He said other people, who he did not know, must have put the other items on the van.

Robinson explained that on an average working day a lot of people get on and off the vehicle and he had no idea from where the other weapons came.

Following his admissions, Robinson was given a 16-month prison sentence, with a £140 statutory surcharge and Judge Adkin also ordered destruction of the seized weapons