A MAN carried a police-style baton, nunchucks and a ceremonial throwing knife because of his religious beliefs, a court heard.

James Fry, 22, of Oakfield Road, Benfleet, admitted to carrying the baton in Ferry Road, Benfleet, when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday.

Fry was also charged with two further counts of possession of an offensive weapon, after being found with two sets of nunchucks and the knife at the same time on February 14 this year.

But those charges were dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service accepted he brought them out of the house by mistake, and owns them because they are part of his following of the pagan religion.

Lynne Shirley, defending, said: “There is no suggestion he brandished these items, or he intended to use them dangerously. They are important to him as they are part of his paganism.

“He also uses the nun-chucks to strengthen his wrists.”

Recorder David Holborn said the court would take possession of the baton, but agreed to let Fry keep the other items after inspecting them and concluding they were more ornamental than dangerous.

Fry has adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, which makes it difficult for him to concentrate and leaves him particularly susceptible to stressful situations.

He has no previous convictions and was released on unconditional bail.

Fry was told to return to Chelmsford Crown Court on November 16 for sentencing, following an assessment of his mental health and the compilation of a pre-sentence report.