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A golf boss who purchased an illegal 50,000-volt Taser gun to zap rats away from his home has been convicted of weapon offences.
Richard Gilling, who owns The Golf School in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, brought the item for £20 after he was reportedly advised to by his lawyer pal, a court heard.
However, the businessman never ended up using the Taser and left it to collect dust at his former property in Lymm, Cheshire.
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The 53-year-old was arrested after the new occupants came across the Taser and contacted the police, who later found his fingerprints on the manual.
Gilling pleaded guilty to having in his possession a weapon designed or adapted for the discharge of electrified barbs.
Chairman Fraser Geke branded the incident a "comedy of errors" at Warrington Magistrates' Court.
Adam Till, prosecuting said: “The officers attended an address and were granted entry by the occupants. The officers carried out a search of the property. In one of the bedrooms, PC Quince-Black searched a wardrobe. Inside was a black box with a Taser and three cartridges.
“At 10.10pm the defendant was located at his home address. The items were found in a property that he had access to.”
Examination of the item was then undertaken to establish that it was an illegal firearm as according to the Firearms Act 1968.
“On August 22 a further examination was undertaken and the defendant was related to the item in question,” the prosecutor said.
“There were no dangerous circumstances. There is no evidence that it was produced or used in any way.”
Defence solicitor Riyaz Shaikh said Gilling is a golf trainer and emphasised that he had pleaded guilty at his first opportunity.
Mr Shaikh explained: “You would be surprised to learn who it was who advised him. It was a commercial lawyer who tendered that advice. He ordered it but it simply sat in the house and has never been used.
“When he got it, he looked at the manual. That was where the forensic link came in. His fingerprints were on the manual but not on the Taser.
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“The Taser was not charged, it was not connected. It was in a wardrobe collecting dust for almost two and half years."
JPs conditionally discharged Gilling for 12 months and ordered him to pay £107 in costs and a victim surcharge.
Chairman Fraser Geke commented: "It was a comedy of errors shall we say and we take that into consideration as well as taking into consideration the fact it was never used, and that it was never intended to be used.
"We also take into consideration your previous good character and your very glowing references.”
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