Firearm purchased to give toy car a zap, court hears

Scarborough Magistrates' Court
Scarborough Magistrates' Court

A 20,000 volt stun gun landed a Whitby man in court - after he bought it to turbocharge his toy car.

Despite only planning to buy a new hi-vis work vest, Alexander Boyd’s online shopping basket also ended up with a Taser and some pepper spray in it.

He was given the noxious spray as a “freebie” for buying the weapon last November.

But suspicious border officials at Coventry Airport seized the weapons, which were addressed to Boyd’s Robin Hood Close home.

Forensic testing confirmed both items were outlawed, and the 22-year-old was arrested.

Police seized his computer, scouring it for a criminal motive behind his purchase.

But when questioned, Boyd told detectives that the sole reason he wanted the stun gun was to use it’s power to give his remote control car a boost.

“He’s a young man with a history of taking things apart to see how they work,” said his solicitor Miss Dixon.

“He’s a young man who has acted completely out of character - perhaps naively.”

At Thursday’s hearing, Scarborough Magistrates heard that previously unconvicted Boyd had received several glowing character references.

A “well paid” manager, he had worked himself up from an apprentice role in five years.

But in court face, Boyd cut a solemn figure, his head hung through much of the proceedings, breathing heavily as he entered guilty pleas to two charges of purchasing the weapons.

But despite admitting the charges, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) unsuccessfully made the “unusual” request for an adjournment, because one of the CPS’ lawyers failed to show.

But during the hearing, Boyd’s solicitor told the court that her client hadn’t purchased the weapons thinking they were even illegal.

The website in which they were bought from even had a disclaimer on them, stating it was illegal to buy them in Germany, something she argued added to it’s credibility.

“He finds himself before the court today as a result of his ignorance towards the firearms act,” she said.

“There was nothing sinister about Mr Boyd’s actions.”

A Taser is a weapon capable of discharging an electrical current and is classified by the police as a prohibited firearm.

It is therefore an offence to possess, purchase, acquire, manufacture, sell or transfer such a weapon, without lawful authority.

Magistrates told Boyd his crimes were “extremely serious”, and with no real sentencing guidelines in place for the offence, sentencing was open.

He was eventually fined £750 for purchasing the stun gun, and ordered to pay a £75 surcharge and £85 costs. There was no extra punishment for the pepper spray charge.

And the bench told him: “You were extremely naive in doing this, to the point of being silly.

“I just hope that it’s a salutary lesson to you.”

Both weapons will be destroyed.