Driver spared jail after knife found in van during Christmas Eve drugs search

Aaron Momat appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for sentence.
Aaron Momat appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for sentence.

A man who was found in possession of a knife on Christmas Eve has been spared jail.

Aaron Momat's van was subject to a routine drug search after officers spotted him driving down Ocean Road in South Shields on December 24.

However, during the search, officers found a lock knife in a locked cabinet under one of the seats.

Prosecutor David Crook told Newcastle Crown Court how officers stopped Momat as part of a search under the misuse of drugs act.

He said: "Police saw the defendant's motor vehicle on Ocean Road in South Shields.

"The defendant was the sole occupant of the vehicle. The rear of the van was to be checked."

Mr Crook explained how as one of the officers leaned forward on the seat, the cabinet was exposed.

He added: "The defendant said he just kept paperwork in the cabinet. A lock knife was found.

"The defendant said he had it for work and the crown accepts that. His last sort of offence was in relation to drugs and a community order was given."

The 25-year-old admitted possession of a bladed article.

Graeme Cook, defending, told the court how his client pleaded guilty to the charge at a plea and trial preparation hearing.

He urged the judge to suspend the "inevitable" custodial sentence.

Record Eric Elliott, QC, said that there could be "catastrophic conclusions" when carrying a knife.

He sentenced Momat, of Alice Street, South Shields, to five months, suspended for 12 months.

The recorder said: "We live in a world where knives are being used too prevalently.

"You recognise the seriousness of these offences by pleading guilty."

Momat must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work as well as a rehabilitation requirement.