WHEN a 45-year-old Stroud man arrived at court to plead guilty to possessing an offensive weapon security guards found a raptor-style claw knife on his key-ring, a court heard last Friday.

Matthew White of London Road, Stroud pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to six months jail suspended for two years by Recorder Llewelyn Sellick at Gloucester Crown Court.

Said prosecuting barrister Ian Fenny: “The defendant was stopped by police in his Peugeot car in the early hours of November 13 last year, in the Dursley area.

“In a driver’s door compartment they found an extending ASP baton, which he said was for his protection.”

Mr Fenny said that White was then charged with possessing an offensive weapon and he went to Cheltenham magistrates court in St George’s Road on March 28 to face the allegation. On his way in, a security guard’s metal detector found that he was in possession of a knife.

“This was a more sinister weapon,” said Mr Fenny.

Defending lawyer Lloyd Jenkins said: “These are serious offences but my client did not realise that possession of the knife – which only has an inch-long blade – was against the law.

“He had previously had trouble with a man with a baseball bat and a friend of his had given him an ASP for his own protection.

“He turned up at court to enter a guilty plea and after the knife was discovered he pleaded guilty to that offence too.

“My client is a recovering drug addict.”

Said the Recorder: “In November of last year you attended court to plead guilty to possessing the ASP, an offensive weapon, which you said you had in your car because you thought you might be attacked.

“But on that very day you were found in possession of a knife attached to your key-ring.”