Holidaymaker caught with stun guns and knuckle dusters in suitcase at Leeds Bradford Airport

A holidaymaker who was caught with stun guns and knuckle dusters in his suitcase at Leeds Bradford Airport has been sent to prison.

By Tony Gardner
Monday, 11th November 2019, 5:00 pm

Simon Fletcher was arrested after being stopped by customs officers after returning to West Yorkshire on a flight from Turkey.

Leeds Crown Court heard his luggage was searched and two high-voltage stun guns disguised as mobile phones were discovered.

The officers also found two knuckle dusters.

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'Suitcase full of trouble': Simon Fletcher was jailed for 20 months after being caught with stun guns and knuckle dusters at Leeds Bradford Airport

Fletcher was arrested after the illegal items were recovered on September 9 last year.

He was interviewed and said he had bought the items in Turkey and did not realise it was illegal to possess them in the UK.

Fletcher, 27, of Queen Street, Balby, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to possessing a disguised firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing a dangerous article in an aerodrome.

The court heard that Fletcher pleaded guilty to the offences on the basis that he bought them as "prank" or novelty items and had no intention of using them.

It was also accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that Fletcher had not brought them into the UK on behalf of anyone or intended to give them to another person.

Fletcher has 20 previous convictions, mainly for dishonesty offences.

Clarkson Baptiste, mitigating, said Fletcher had no previous similar convictions and had been out of trouble for four years.

Mr Baptiste said Fletcher's cousin had also been facing charges over the incident but the CPS had taken the decision to drop the case against him.

He added that Fletcher had pleaded guilty to the offences at an early stage.

Describing the incident he said: "This was a lack maturity on his part."

Judge Andrew Stubbs, QC, told the defendant that the sentence carried a minimum jail sentence of five years unless there were "exceptional circumstances."

The judge agreed to reduce the sentence to 20 months but told Fletcher he must go to prison immediately.

He said: "You came with a suitcase full of trouble.

"The importation of these items is serious because of whose hands they could fall into."