A MAN who was found with a “police” CS spray canister and an emergency blue light has narrowly avoided jail.
Daniel Gross, 24, of The Avenue, Benfleet, was found with the stolen items in his car after he was stopped for speeding in his Audi A3 in Leigh on January 23.
He was caught while serving a 12-month suspended prison sentence for an assault outside Churchills Nightclub, in Southend, and was told by Judge David Owen-Jones he faced jail.
But he avoided a prison term and was instead fined £1,000 after the court heard he had just bought a house with his girlfriend and the pair would lose their home.
Charlotte Davison, prosecuting, told Basildon Crown Court Gross was pulled over for bad driving and when police searched his car they found a CS canister with “police” written on it.
Officers also found a police blue light, which Gross said he had stolen from a traffic cone a few months earlier. While being driven to Southend police station, Gross said: “That bloody light, it was just me and some mates messing about one night.
“We did not know what we would do with it.”
Miss Davison said Gross later told police he had bought the CS canister from a woman in a pub for £15, knew it was illegal but had no intention of using it.
The court heard Gross had a previous conviction for owning a spray after a number of cans were found at his home in 2009.
In mitigation, Ian Cliff said: “Mr Gross has demonstrated maturity by completing a suspended order and holding down a job as a scaffolder.
“This was undermined by his lack of common sense and maturity in purchasing the spray.
“He acquired it, placed it in his car and then forgot about it.
“There is no logical explanation for it and it goes against everything he has done since his conviction for grievous bodily harm. If he were jailed today he would lose his job and they would default on their mortgage repayments almost immediately.”
Judge Owen-Jones said he accepted Gross stole the blue light as part of a “stupid, idiotic prank”.
Gross, who admitted possessing an offensive weapon and theft, was also ordered to pay £250 costs.