No jail for teenager caught with machete and BB gun at railway station
A teenager who was caught with a machete and a BB gun at a railway station has avoided jail after being given a second chance by a judge.
Toby Pinder, 19, was warned by Judge Anthony Lowe that carrying offensive weapons is a crime being committed “too often by too many” but was given a community order and ordered to carry out unpaid work.
Pinder was running away from home in Kidderminster after being threatened when he was stopped by security at Shrewsbury Railway Station, according to his defence barrister Phillip Beardwell.
Pinder, now of Clifton Road in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to two counts of carrying an offensive weapon in a public place at Shrewsbury Crown Court.
Possession of a knife can carry a prison sentence of up to four years, even if it’s not used, and criminals carrying a guns can expect five years behind bars.
Judge Lowe read out quotes from a senior judge who warned that knife crime was reaching epidemic proportions at an appeal hearing in 2008.
“Carrying a knife or offensive weapon without reasonable excuse is a crime which is being committed far too often by far too many people,” he said.
“Every weapon carried about the streets, even if concealed from sight, even if not likely to be used or intended to be used, represents a threat to public safety and public order.
“That is because, even if carried only for bravado or carried for some misguided sense that it would be used in possible self-defence, it takes only a moment of irritation, drunkenness, anger, perceived insult, or something utterly trivial like a ‘look’, for the weapon to be produced.
“Then you have mayhem, and offences of the greatest possible seriousness follow, including murder, manslaughter, GBH, wounding and assault.
“Offences of this kind have recently escalated. They are reaching epidemic proportions.
“Every knife or weapon carried in the street represents a public danger and, therefore, in the public interest, this crime must be confronted and stopped.
“Even if the offender does no more than carry the weapon, even when the weapon is not used to threaten or cause fear, when considering the seriousness of the offence, courts should bear in mind the harm which the weapon might foreseeably have caused.”
He added: “Here we are in 2020 and that is a situation which has got progressively worse.
“You were 18 at the time. You have just turned 19. You have no previous convictions and a childhood which is frightening.”
Mr Beardwell asked Judge Lowe to take into account Pinder’s difficult upbringing when passing sentence.
Judge Lowe told Pinder: "The conclusion I have come to is that everyone deserves a second chance, especially people who haven't been given many in life. My hope is that this was a one off."
Pinder was given an 18-month community order, 160 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity days.
The judge also ordered the weapons be forfeited and destroyed.
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