Shropshire man sentenced after illegal Taser seized by border officials
A Shropshire man who bought an illegal Taser online has avoided being sent to prison for the offence.
The weapon seized by border officials was purchased for £13.99 from the Far East by Nathan Heeley, 22, of Market Drayton.
Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that the defendant ordered the firearm to help out a friend.
Miss Elizabeth Power, prosecuting barrister, said: "On September 10, 2018, a package was intercepted at Gatwick Airport on arrival from Taipei, Taiwan.
"The package was addressed to the defendant.
"The label declared that it contained a 'flashlight'. The package was opened and it was found to contain a stun gun or Taser."
She said during his police interview Heeley, of Portland Drive, told officers that he knew it was illegal to possess a Taser in the UK.
He said he ordered it for a friend because they had been repeatedly broken into and were scared for their safety.
Heeley, a gardener, had initially denied an offence of buying the prohibited weapon in September 2018.
A trial was due to be held in May, but he changed his plea to guilty at the hearing.
Sentencing him yesterday Judge Peter Barrie told Heeley, who had no previous convictions, that he had been "troubled" by him not accepting rehabilitation support from the probation service for his cannabis habit.
The judge said: "I do think this offence is past the custody threshold."
"I am not against a suspended sentence. After all that I have read about you, I am prepared to do that today, but it has been a very close run thing.
"It leaves for you now to learn the lessons from this episode and from your mistakes," Judge Barrie added.
He sentenced Heeley to seven months in jail suspended for two years.
Miss Sophie Murray, mitigating barrister, said: "Since 2018 he has turned his life around. He says he was naive at the time and didn't understand the consequences of his actions."
The defendant must also carry out 100 hours unpaid work and pay costs £400.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the weapon.
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