Man with ‘unhealthy interest in unlawful items’ claimed he had tear gas as a ‘collector’s item’

A MAN who a judge said had an “unhealthy interest in unlawful items” has been fined £200 for possessing a ‘prohibited weapon’ – tear gas.

Richard David Hetherington (35), of Alexandra Avenue, Ballymoney, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday and admitted a charge of having CS gas.

The item was found in a living room drawer during a police search of his home on August 1, 2017.

The defendant told police he brought the CS spray back from holiday a number of years ago and kept it as a “collector’s item”.

A defence solicitor said the matter came to PSNI attention two years ago and the defendant had not been in trouble since then.

The court heard police had dealt with the defendant a number of years ago regarding fireworks.

The lawyer told the court that Hetherington, a single man on benefits, “shows an interest in the same type of material – items which are prohibited”.

Fining the defendant, District Judge Peter King said Hetherington’s “unhealthy interest in unlawful items” involved a police Tactical Support Group searching his home.

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