Worksop man carried air rifle and spade through town in the early hours

A Worksop man alarmed police when they saw him with an air-rifle over one shoulder and a spade over the other in the early hours of the morning, a court has heard.
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Alexis Mercer, mitigating, said Paul Whyte was spotted walking along Priorswell Road at 12.30am, on December 9, last year.

He was carrying an unloaded air rifle in a gun case and no ammunition was found. He told the officers he had been shooting rats along the canal.

The court heard he has 27 previous convictions for 64 offences, but nothing of a similar nature, and has been out of trouble since 2014.

Mansfield Magistrates court, Rosemary Street.Mansfield Magistrates court, Rosemary Street.
Mansfield Magistrates court, Rosemary Street.

Nichola Thorpe, mitigating, said he bought the rifle from a friend and on the night had fallen out with his partner.

He decided against going ratting and hadn't appreciated that it is illegal to carry the rifle in a public place even if it is in a case, she added.

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"He understands it will be confiscated," Ms Thorpe said. "He was fully cooperative and deserves full credit for his guilty plea."

Whyte, aged 56, of Newbury Mews, Worksop, admitted possessing an air weapon in a public place when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The presiding magistrate told him: "It's not an offence we come across every day. The guidelines are very convoluted. It's no surprise you were confused where the law lies on this matter."

Whyte received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £26 surcharge.

"You haven't bothered the courts for a long time," he was told. "You must keep out of trouble for the next 12 months."