Man, 32, avoids jail after knives and gun find

High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.
High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.

A man has been handed a suspended prison sentence by magistrates after he was found in possession of knives in New Mills.

Ryan Michael Johnson, 32, was driving his van at about 3am on November 6 when it was stopped by police investigating a spate of burglaries, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard.

Jennifer Fitzgerald, prosecuting, said: “Police searched the van and two lock knives were found in the driver’s area, one was on the dashboard.”

The other was found down the side of the driver’s seat, the court heard.

Johnson, who claimed the knives were for work, was convicted following a trial of having two knives in his possession without good reason or lawful authority

The court also heard how the defendant was barred from having an air rifle or pellets due to previously serving a term of imprisonment, but that on September 5, as a result of his arrest during an investigation into other matters, a rifle and pellets had been found in his van.

Johnson admitted possession of the air rifle and pellets, telling officers he used the air rifle to control vermin on his ex-partner’s farm.

Annis Rowlands, defending, said it would not have been an offence for the defendant to have the air rifle and pellets had he not served a prison sentence.

“It was a friend’s gun and he felt he was keeping the friend out of matters by saying it was his own and accepts he was in possession of it,” she told the court.

Mrs Rowlands said back in November, following a spate of burglaries, officers were being particularly vigilant by stopping vehicles in the early hours: “You have heard this vehicle was full of tools of his trade, mechanic-type tools and in among that collection of items were these two knives.”

She said Johnson had forgotten to put the knives back into one of the tool boxes.

Johnson, of Kenilworth Road, Stockport, was given a ten-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

He must also carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and comply with a rehabilitation activity requirement, as well as pay £285 in costs and an £80 surcharge.

An order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of the air rifle, pellets and two lock knives.