South Shields man fined for importing illegal knife
A collector of military hardware found himself before the courts after buying a First World War knife.
Postal inspectors opened a package - which was ordered on the internet from Holland - while it was on its way to Sean Conner, 28, at his home in South Shields.
South Tyneside Magistrates Court heard the knife is classed as an offensive weapon in this country.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, told the court: “It was a flick knife with a locking blade and a knuckleduster-style handle.”
“It is an offence to possess one in this country.
“It is, therefore, an offence to import one.”
He added: “When interviewed, Mr Conner said he collected military knives and hardware.
“He said he had no idea this type of knife is illegal.”
Conner, of Bowman Place, South Shields, admitted improperly importing a prohibited item.
The court heard he has a previous conviction for possessing a knife in a public place in 2011.
Representing himself, Conner said: “My previous conviction was after I had been hunting legally with an air rifle, and the knife was in the boot of my car.
“It had a locking mechanism which I was told made it illegal.”
He added: “It wasn’t as if I was carrying the knife in my pocket in the town or anything like that.”
The court clerk said Conner received a small fine for that offence which would indicate the circumstances were not seen as serious by the bench who dealt with it in 2011.
Conner said of his most recent offence: “The knife is what’s called by collectors a trench knife.
“I saw it on the website and ordered it.
“I had no idea it was illegal.
“As soon as I realised that, I told the police to keep it.
“I am sorry for what I did, and it won’t happen again.”
The court heard Conner is an unemployed scaffolder who lives with his girlfriend and children.
Conner was ordered to pay £195 in fines and costs at £5 per week.
The knife was confiscated and will be destroyed.