A MAN found to be in illegal possession of a stun gun and ammunition was told he was lucky not to be facing more serious charges.

They were uncovered in a search of local authority accommodation where Dean Watts was living following his release from a previous prison sentence, in Ushaw Moor, near Durham.

As part of plans to move in another “service user”, a number of firearms and samurai swords were discovered.

Durham Crown Court was told police were called and the weapons were “made safe”.

The offending stun gun, which was found to be in working order, and the ammunition were recovered from a loft space.

Watts was forbidden from possessing either due to a previous 66-week prison sentence for an affray, imposed in January 2020.

Annelise Haugstad, prosecuting, said that was among Watts’ record of 34 convictions for 72 past offences.

The 30-year-old defendant, now of Dunelm Court, Brandon, admitted possessing a prohibited weapon, the electric stun device, and the ammunition.

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Jennifer Coxon, in mitigation, said Watts was staying with friends at the time when the device and ammunition were found.

“His friend’s father passed away and they were clearing out his home.

“Police had already attended his friend’s father’s house and removed some items.”

Miss Coxon said Watts took them in a carrier bag and accepts, “something wasn’t quite right”, in removing the items.

“He may have been a bit naïve, but he accepts he took them to his own home and put them in a wardrobe in a loft.

“Clearly, he lacked the capacity to consider the risks just by him having them in his possession.

“Thankfully, they were found by police while he was not at the address and they were simply in that wardrobe.

“He accepts he’s clearly acted impulsively in doing what he has done.

“He makes his admission on the basis there was no harm caused.

“There’s no suggestion there was any intention to use the stun gun, or even of the fact it had been used.”

Judge Ray Singh said had the defendant been charged as a “prohibited” person, which he could have been due to his previous past convictions, he may have been facing an immediate prison sentence.

He told Watts: “You are extremely fortunate that the charges were not of the most serious nature.”

Imposing a six-month community order, Judge Singh made Watts subject of a six-month electronically-monitored 7pm to 7am curfew at the Brandon address and warned him any breach is likely to lead to an immediate prison sentence.

The judge also made a forfeiture order for both the stun gun and ammunition.

Judge Singh asked for his comments to be passed to the reviewing Crown lawyer in the case as he said the court was, “somewhat hampered”, by the preferred charges in this case.

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