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21 May 2015, 17:35
A man who kept a stun gun disguised as a mobile phone in his kitchen cupboard has been jailed for five years.
Police found the disguised firearm, capable of discharging an electrical charge, during a raid at Andrew Wotton's home last October.
The 33-year-old claimed he did not realise what the weapon was and assumed it was a phone belonging to a friend who would later collect it.
He told police he had put it in his kitchen cupboard and forgot about it being there.
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told Newcastle Crown Court: "He would say he thought it was nothing more than a mobile phone.
"On looking at the item, it is clear it is not a mobile phone and it would have been clear to the defendant.
"It has a picture on the front which does not change.
"It simply does not look like a mobile phone, the keys don't work and the picture remains on screen.
"He clearly knew what the item was and has kept it for some time."
The weapon, which was produced in court, had a front screen showing a picture of a beach and a fake keypad made of hard plastic.
It was activated by two electrodes at the top of the device, which was designed to resemble a Nokia N73 telephone.
Mr Recorder William Lowe said he was convinced Wotton, who has previous convictions for violence and robbery, knew exactly what the device was.
The judge said: "I am sure anyone coming across this object would know perfectly well it was not a mobile phone."
Wotton, of Murton Lane, Easington Lane, had admitted possessing a disguise firearm, which carries a mandatory five year minimum sentence.
Vic Laffey, defending, told the court: "He accepts he picked it up and put it in the cupboard.
"He believed it was someone's who had been in his house.
"He hadn't used it in any shape or form."