A holidaymaker who thought he would get “a slap on the wrist” if he was caught bringing stun guns into the country was jailed for five years today.
A judge rejected a plea that there were exceptional circumstances which would allow Niall Dinsmore to escape the minimum prison term set down by Parliament for such a firearms offence.
Lord Boyd of Duncansby told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “With regret I have concluded there are no exceptional circumstances in your case.”
Dinsmore was caught with five stun guns disguised as torches and five batons after he arrived at Edinburgh airport from a break in Bulgaria.
The judge was told that he planned to keep one of the stun guns and give others away to friends and relatives.
Lord Boyd said: “You intended, on your account, to gift a stun gun and a baton to a chosen few. Together these weapons are of considerable potency.”
The judge said that Dinsmore ,28, of Bansbridge, Northern Ireland, would have been putting the weapons beyond his control and could not know where they would have ended up.
Lord Boyd said that while Dinsmore did not appreciate the seriousness of what he was doing he knew it was wrong, which distinguished his case from others where exceptional circumstances were argued.
Dinsmore earlier admitted being illegally in possession of disguised firearms and being in possession of offensive weapons, the batons.
He was held at the airport on August 31 last year as he returned from holiday with his girlfriend Kerri Luff, from Dundee.
The court heard that he had bought them as presents as he thought they were “unusual”.
Prosecutor Shirley McKenna said: “He thought he would get a slap on the wrist if caught.”
Defence solicitor advocate Richard Souter said the items he arrived at the airport with were for sale in supermarkets in the East European country where he and his girlfriend had holidayed with another couple.
He said they were bought for about 20 Lev each _ approximately pounds 10.
“His intention was to give them as gifts to some friends and relations. He saw them as something different,” said Mr Souter, adding that he accepted it showed his naivety.
He said that on arrival at the airport Border Force personnel had taken him to a poster of contraband items and asked if he had any and he said he did.
Mr Souter said Dinsmore had fully co-operated with the authorities. He said: “It was clear he had no idea how serious it was. It was clear he had no idea they were classified as firearms.”
“He appeared to be shocked when he was told he had imported firearms,” said the defence lawyer.
Lord Boyd told Dinsmore that he had read references submitted on his behalf which made it clear he was well regarded in the community, by his employer and by family and friends.
The judge said he accepted that he was ashamed and embarrassed by the incident and had shown a significant degree of remorse for his actions.