|Stun Gun Shock: Colin Callow|
Haulage boss Colin Callow, 61, of Longwood, Sutton Maddock, Shifnal, Shropshire bought the illegal weapons cheaply at a Bangkok marketplace, but was caught after his suitcase was searched at Heathrow Airport.
He claims he did not know the electric stun gun – disguised as a police torch – was a weapon when purchased by his travelling companion and innocently bought the baton when looking for martial arts equipment for his son.
Callow, director of Callow Transport and Storage, pleaded guilty to smuggling the stun gun, friction lock baton and CS gas cannister at the airport on December 10, last year.
He also admitted being in possession of a weapon designed to discharge electricity, possessing a weapon designed to discharge gas and possessing an offensive weapon, namely the friction lock baton.
Prosecutor Mr. James Vine told Isleworth Crown Court Callow had spent three weeks in Thailand with friend Arnold Wilby, 82, and was questioned about the contents of his suitcase on his return.
Inside a green plastic bag underneath clothing the UK Border Agency officer found the weapons and when told they were illegal Callow simply replied: “Oh, are they?”
“He said he had gone to Thailand with a friend and they thought it was a good idea to buy a torch because the lighting outside the hotel was poor at night,” explained the prosecutor.
|Travelling Pal: Arnold Wilby|
“He said his son had asked him to buy numchukas and when he asked about them at the market he was sold the baton and was unaware that it contained a gas cannister.”
The stun gun was tested and emited blue sparks and made a crackling noise and is deemed by the prosecution to be a non-lethal self-defence weapon.
The baton was telescopic and extended to two-feet in length.
Callow's lawyer Mr. Chester Beyts told the court imprisonment for his client would be a diaster for his company, which he has built-up over thirty-five years, and his seventeen employees.
“There is a public interest that the company doesn't collapse.
“He finds himself in the most extraordinary situation and the strain of court proceedings has been frightening for him and those around him.
“He was a vulnerable tourist excited by the marketplace and cannot believe the situation he has got himself into.”
Sentencing Callow to eight months imprisonment, suspended for fifteen months, Recorder David Fisher QC told the first-time offender: “These are serious offences.
“We are dealing with three weapons capable of causing verying degrees of temporary injury and the ever-present danger exists that they might fall into the wrong hands and be used in crime.”
Callow was also orddred to pay £300 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.
He was supported in court by Mr. Wilby, his two daughters, son and his second-in-command at the company.