POLICE found a Kendal man with an illegal electronic stun gun he was given as a Christmas present.

Police attended the home address of 23-year-old Fletcher Leon Cannon on March 26 to conduct a search. Cannon was present with his girlfriend, who was upstairs.

“Police recovered from a bedroom cupboard in a bedroom being occupied by Mr Cannon and his girlfriend, a Taser device,” prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told Carlisle Crown Court.

It was a fully functioning device which could be used a hand-held item from close range. However, seven cartridges also recovered from the bedroom would allow it to be discharged from distance.

“He told the officers, as he continued to tell them during his interview, that he was given the Taser device as a Christmas gift,” said Mr Rogerson, “and that he had been assured by the friend who gifted it to him that the device was legal to possess in the United Kingdom.”

That was not the case, however, and Cannon, of Stockgate, Kendal, admitted possessing a prohibited weapon when brought to court.

When initially asked during his interview whether he knew it was an offence, he replied: “Not really, not.”

“I forgot it was there, to be honest,” he had said. “It was just thrown in a cupboard.”

Cannon refused to name the present-giver, saying: “I’m not going to answer stuff like that.”

But when asked why someone would need an electronic stun gun, he said of the unidentified person: “I don’t know. I would like you to ask him the same question.”

He added: “I had no intention of using it.”

Cannon was said to have 14 offences on his criminal record, including previous offensive weapon offences committed while he was a juvenile.

The judge, Recorder Eric Lamb, noted the conclusion of a probation service pre-sentence report was for Cannon to serve his punishment in the community with professional assistance. His lawyer, Chris Evans, said of that proposal: “It appears to be both realistic and constructive.”

Cannon’s 12-month community order will include a rehabilitation activity requirement and a four-month electronically monitored night-time curfew.

But the judge stopped short of imposing unpaid work after hearing Cannon had been ordered by magistrates last month to complete 200 hours’ community service for an assault.

Recorder Lamb did order the forfeiture and destruction of the device and cartridges.