A COMMUNITY-MINDED pensioner was stunned after being handcuffed and threatened with a Taser…for carrying a pair of garden shears.

Jonathan Dalton, 63, had been cutting hedges in Abberton and was walking back to his Mersea home when he was suddenly instructed to drop his weapon.

The retired railway worker was put in cuffs and had the electrical stun gun pointed at it before it became clear he had simply been gardening.

Police had been alerted by two-well meaning members of the public within a matter of minutes of each other who said they had seen a man carrying a small sword and a knife.

Mr Dalton, who has never been at the sharp end of the law previously, was shocked at what unfolded.

“I had just been out doing my social duty when ten minutes later I was walking home along Mersea Road,” he said.

“I head a siren and the next minute they were saying put the weapon down.

“But they were just shears and I was just carrying them.

“They pointed the Taser at me and put me in handcuffs.

“I was quite shaken up and frightened.

“But they let me go after I had explained the situation then two officers offered me a lift home.

“I told them I could make it myself but they said they would have had to take the shears to the police station.

“I then accepted and they take me home so I could keep the shears.”

Mr Dalton said the incident last Wednesday was “an assault on society’s freedoms.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were contacted just after 8.25am on last Wednesday with reports of a man seen with what was described to the call taker as a small sword in Mersea Road, Abberton.

“We then received a further call from another person reporting the same matter just after 8.30am with the item being carried described as a knife.

“Officers were sent to the location and detained a man in handcuffs.

“The officers also used the red dot function of their Taser due to the initial perceived threat the item the man was carrying may have presented.

“Once he had been detained it was established the item he was carrying was a pair of shears and he had been trimming some hedges.

“The officers took the man home.”