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Monday, October 18, 2021

Man with ‘unhealthy interest in unlawful items’ claimed he had tear gas as a ‘collector’s item’

A man who a judge said had an “unhealthy interest in unlawful items” has been fined £200 for possessing a ‘prohibited weapon’ – tear gas.

Richard David Hetherington (35), of Alexandra Avenue, Ballymoney, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday and admitted a charge of having CS gas.

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The item was found in a living room drawer during a police search of his home on August 1, 2017.

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The defendant told police he brought the CS spray back from holiday a number of years ago and kept it as a “collector’s item”.

A defence solicitor said the matter came to PSNI attention two years ago and the defendant had not been in trouble since then.

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The court heard police had dealt with the defendant a number of years ago regarding fireworks.

The lawyer told the court that Hetherington, a single man on benefits, “shows an interest in the same type of material – items which are prohibited”.

Fining the defendant, District Judge Peter King said Hetherington’s “unhealthy interest in unlawful items” involved a police Tactical Support Group searching his home.

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