A 23-YEAR-OLD who sent himself three stun guns disguised as mobile phones from the USA has been jailed for two years.
Dennis Holmes, of Town End Road, Faringdon, admitted possessing two banned firearms and acquiring another on August 4 last year.
On Thursday he was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court but avoided the mandatory minimum five-year jail term usually imposed for possessing disguised firearms.
Joanna Durber, prosecuting, said Holmes had bought the three stun guns, which resemble HTC mobile phones, from a joke shop while on holiday in the USA.
She told Judge Patrick Eccles the defendant claimed the man who ran the shop assured him they were legal in the UK and he would post them to his home address.
Miss Durber said that free knuckledusters had been sent along with the stun guns, but Holmes had not been charged with an offence in relation to them.
The barrister added that the defendant had a previous conviction for an assault causing actual bodily harm on February 12 last year.
Claire Fraser, defending, said her client had no idea that such weapons were banned in the UK and was “terrified” of receiving a five-year sentence.
She said: “He simply had no knowledge they were illegal. It simply hadn’t entered his head.
“He thought they would be good joke presents to show his friends and members of his family.”
Judge Eccles said he would not impose the five-year minimum sentence but that Holmes could not avoid going straight to prison.
He said: “You have to bear some responsibility because it should be obvious to an intelligent person that in this country you are not allowed to carry around something which can discharge electricity into someone else.”
Holmes will also have to pay a £120 victims’ surcharge when he is released.