Shock as boxing coach jailed five years for having a disguised firearm
A disgraced boxing coach caught with a stun gun disguised as a mobile phone has been caged for five years under firearms legislation.
Paul Fielding, 50, of Ambleside Road, Lancaster, gestured "I love you" to his relatives in the public gallery as Recorder Timothy Hannan told him he could not find exceptional reasons to draw back from the rules brought in by Parliament.
He told Fielding he believed he and his family had lied about how the weapon - a disguised firearm - came into his possession during a night out in Lancaster on April 17.
Preston Crown Court heard Fielding, who used to run the Skerton boxing club near Lancaster, was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and custody officers found the weapon, which said: "Stun", in his jacket at the police station.
He entered a guilty plea to possessing a firearm but his basis led to a trial of issue of the facts - which were dismissed as "incapable of belief and entirely dishonest".
He said: " Such was the concern of Parliament about the proliferation of such devices that in January 2004 it set a minimum sentence on such cases of five years of imprisonment. In the view Parliament deterrent sentences are called for and courts should be less concerned with the circumstances of the defendant.
"The public needs to understand it is intended to convey the message criminals will be dealt with more severely for this type of offence."
Fielding's basis of plea was that his daughter Danielle, who was out with him that night, had found the device in the toilets of the Horse and Farrier pub and picked it up believing it was a phone, to advertise it had been found on Facebook.
Fielding was shown the device, thought it was a stun gun and took it off her and put it in his pocket.
After circling various bars he was arrested in front of his daughter and son and daughter's partner.
Recorder Hanna added: "In short, I'm sure you set out to mislead me and conspired with other witnesses to do so.
" You are a working man and there appear to be a number of people prepared to say things about your character, and that the boxing gym which you run has had a profound and positive effect on young people.
"What those references say are at odds with this case.
"The fact is you were out in public with a functioning and disguised weapon. I'm driven to the conclusion you and your witnesses lied because you had it with you for no good reason."
He added he had a previous convictions in 2009 for possessing a weapon.
Fielding's family cried: "I don't understand" from the public gallery as he was led down to the cells.