A TEENAGER took a realistic looking air weapon on a late night trip to the shops for his own protection.
Samual Hockley was spotted dumping a plastic bag by police as he walked along St Osyth Road, Clacton, in the early hours of the morning.
The officers initially believed he was trying to get rid of drugs and tried to stop the 19-year-old but he carried on walking.
Hockley refused to stop, meaning officers were forced to handcuff him.
They then searched the bag and discovered a real-looking BB gun was concealed inside.
Hockley was arrested and charged with possession of an imitation firearm but proceedings were delayed while checks were made on the weapon.
It turned out to be a fake gun which is broken and unable to fire anything.
No ammunition was found on Hockley, who had no prior convictions.
He admitted the charge at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.
Raph Piggott, mitigating, said the gun was taken because he felt he might need it if he was threatened.
“It is a BB gun but it is broken and it is incapable of being fired,” he said.
“What he says is that he was going out around to the shop.
“He suffers with nerves and felt paranoid.
“The item had been bought some time previously and was used in the garden for target shooting.
“He grabbed it and put it in his bag as he felt unsafe.
“There is no evidence it was produced. The first time it came out of the bag was when the police officers retrieved it.”
Chairman of the bench Elisabeth Connor said there had to be punishment for Hockley, of Dudley Road, Clacton.
She said: “We have given you credit for the guilty plea and will make a community order.
“Clearly it is not appropriate for you to be having an item with you.
“We have to emphasise this.”
He was handed a 12-month community order with 80 hours unpaid work.
Hockley must also pay a £90 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
The gun will be destroyed.