Teenager sold pepper spray on eBay

A TEENAGER who sold pepper spray on eBay did not realise at first that it was illegal, a court was told today. But police recovered the text of internet conversations with a friend which made it plain that Anthony Bourne had discovered it was illegal in t

A TEENAGER who sold pepper spray on eBay did not realise at first that it was illegal, a court was told today.

But police recovered the text of internet conversations with a friend which made it plain that Anthony Bourne had discovered it was illegal in this country.

He had searched the topic on Wikipedia, but did not shut down his eBay site, said prosecutor Peter Shaw at Luton Crown Court.

Bourne, now 19, was arrested and remanded in custody for a month while investigations were carried out.

The charity shop manager from Salisbury Road, Stevenage, pleaded guilty to possessing and selling the canisters, which are covered by the Firearms Act.

He was given a 26-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months with supervision and 100 hours unpaid work.

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Mr Shaw said when police went to Bourne's home on June 14 last year they recovered six of the canisters. He said 24 others had been sold to 12 customers over four days in May.

They were described as "tactical pepper spray". He told police he had bought them over the internet from Hong Kong and paid £2.50 each for them. They were sold for £9.95.

He claimed not to know it was illegal but then conversations in a chat room with a friend were uncovered.

Paul Millan, defending, said; "He had been trading on eBay since he was 14. He purchased the pepper spray under the misapprehension they were legal then rather foolishly tried to offload what he had bought.

"There was no intention to put these weapons to any nefarious use.

"He was unaware just how seriously these matters are considered but it was brought home to him when he was remanded in custody. It was a real shock to his system."

Judge John Farnworth told Bourne: "They are weapons and they are illegal. In the wrong hands serious crimes are facilitated. You have been foolish.

"But I have formed the view that you are not someone who will come to the attention of the courts again. You have learned your lesson.

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