A MAN who claimed he bought pepper spray from eBay discovered it was illegal when he was arrested by police.

Reece Mason admitted possession of a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid when he appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court - but said he believed he was legally allowed to buy it from the auction site.

The court heard he bought it as animal repellent but it was actually pepper spray that can only be carried with ‘the authority of the Secretary of State.’

Emily Clewer, prosecuting, said police stopped Mason’s car in Worcester Road, Droitwich.

She said: “Police carried out a search of the car and found the cannister of pepper spray. He said it was his, and he did not intend to spray anybody with it.”

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Miss Clewer added officers also found cannabis in a large glass jar and a tin can, in an amount consistent with personal use during the search on October 4.

She added Mason had 16 convictions, but the last was nine years ago for possession of cannabis.

Mukesh Murria, defending, said Mason should be given credit for his honest answers to police questions.

“He purchased that spray from eBay,” Mr Murria said. “That was purchased from a European country.

“It would have came in through customs, it was stamped by customs. It clearly states it is legal for UK purposes - clearly that was incorrect.

“Anyone of us could buy an item off eBay and assume it is legal to have in the UK, you would not have thought eBay would allow anything to come into a country that is not legal.”

Mr Murria said Mason’s previous convictions took place when he was a youth, highlighting he had stayed out of trouble since 2011.

Mr Murria said: “He uses cannabis because of his anxiety, it helps him to relax. I have told him to speak to his GP to see if he can get that type of substance legally.”

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Mr Murria asked magistrates to give Mason a conditional discharge for the offences, which would put him “on warning” for a period as “you know he is a man who can keep himself out of trouble.”

After a short deliberation, chairman of the magistrates bench, Adam Greenway, told Mason they were following this recommendation, giving Mason a conditional discharge lasting two years and warning him to stay out of trouble.

Mason said: “I don’t want to commit another offence - I want to change my life.”

Mason, of Oatfields, Trent Close, Droitwich, was told to pay £185 costs and £21 victim surcharge, a total of £206 which he will have to pay in full within 14 days.

The magistrates also ordered the seizure of the pepper spray, and the destruction of the drugs.

The case was heard at the court on Thursday.