A ‘STUPID’ young man has been jailed for two years after he was caught with a stun gun disguised as a torch.

Liam Hunter’s parents called police when they became concerned about his safety fearing he was going to ‘kick-off’ while he was in an agitated state at home while he was intoxicated.

Teesside Crown Court heard how they knew that the 21-year-old had some sort of ‘zapper' – a disguised torch which he had bought for £40 – stashed in his room.

Jon Harley, prosecuting, said when police arrived at the family home in Hartlepool officers warned the youth not to move his hands as they ‘red-dotted’ him with one of their own Taser stun-guns.

Mr Harley said Hunter’s parents called the police when they heard a ‘buzzing’ sound coming from their son’s bedroom.

He added: “Mr Hunter was in an aggressive and unpredictable frame of mind and the police gave him clear instructions not to reach into his clothing but he did so, he reached for something in his trouser pocket and at which point he was ‘red-dotted’ by the police and told he was being targeted by a Taser.

“He was eventually handcuffed and during a search a black torch was located in his trouser pocket. It was an obvious torch with the metal barbs of the stun-gun.”

The Northern Echo: Liam HunterLiam Hunter

Hunter, of Montague Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to possession of a disguised firearm following the incident on April 7 last year – an offence which can warrant a five-year prison sentence.

Martin Scarborough, in mitigation, said his client had been struggling with mental health issues at the time of the offence and urged the judge to spare him from immediate custody.

He told the judge Hunter’s parents remained supportive of their son and only called the police out of concern for his welfare.

Judge Stephen Ashurst jailed Hunter for two years for what he did as an ‘immature and rather stupid young man’. He said: “You bought a torch for £40 inside the torch was a Taser device – at that stage you were 20-years-old and it is clear that your parents were worried about you.

“On April 7, they were worried that, in their words, you were going to ‘kick-off’ and they were concerned that you had a device in your bedroom which made a zapping sound and therefore being responsible parents they called the police, no doubt concerned about you welfare.”