A young Dunstable dad living with his family in a rough area of the town decided to protect them with illegal stun guns and pepper sprays he bought off the internet.


A court heard today that the man thought it would be a good idea to give the weapons to his mum, wife and sister as Christmas and birthday presents.


Today Luton Crown Court was told his family had been left shocked at what he’d done.


Stuart Sprawson, defending the 23 year old father, said his mother had been left “aghast” at the thought that on Christmas Day or on her birthday she could have opened up a package from her son to find a stun gun as her present.


The defendant’s own wife, said Mr Sprawson, had even kicked him out of their flat after it was discovered what he’d been up to, but she has since allowed him to return.


In Court today (Tues 25 Feb) he pleaded guilty to two offences of possessing prohibited weapons.


It was in June of last year that a parcel addressed to the defendant at his flat in Dunstable and sent from a company in the USA was intercepted by customs officials in Coventry.


Paperwork with the package showed it contained stun guns.


As a result, it was opened up and found to contain four stun guns and a charger.


On June 28 police went to the defendant’s flat, where they found five small canisters of pepper spray in an upstairs bedroom.


After his arrest, he told investigators he had ordered the stun guns over the internet from a company based in America and had intended giving them to members of his family for protection.


He said he hadn’t realised he was committing an offence when ordering the stun guns, for which he’d paid £90.00, and the pepper sprays.


Mr Sprawson said his client was a hard working HGV mechanic with three young children who, as a youngster himself, had suffered violence at the hands of a school bully.


Living in Dunstable, said Mr Sprawson, the father had developed a “mind set” where he had convinced himself he had to provide protection for his family.


“He was misguided and he was certainly very foolish and, reading between the lines, naive,” he said.


Mr Sprawson said the defendant had believed, from reading the web page of the company in the USA supplying the items, that he would not be breaking the law in buying them.


Judge Foster described the case as “bizarre” and questioned “why on earth” the defendant should have wanted a collection of such items in “21st century Britain.”


But he said it was clear the defendant had made something of his life, adding “You appear before me today in a shirt and tie and that is unusual in itself.”


He told him “What you have done is ridiculous, dysfunctional and unnecessary. There is no justification for you buying these items.”


Coleman was given a four month prison sentence which was suspended for 12 months and told he must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.


In addition he was told he must pay £350 prosecution costs.


The judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the stun guns and pepper sprays.