Police detained a man in Chichester because he brought a pepper spray gun for ‘self-defence’ on a visit to the library.
Leszek Lipski was searched by officers who found ‘what appeared at the time to be a handgun or imitation handgun’ in his jacket, a court heard.
Lipski, 53, of St Christophers Road in Fishbourne, appeared in court today for sentencing in relation to incident, which happened in September 2017.
He admitted a charge of possessing a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid and failing to surrender to police at a previous hearing.
Police unsure what 'handgun' type object was
Prosecutor Nicholas Hall told Hove Crown Court today: “The incident was in the town centre in Chichester. The police had received a call from the ambulance service.
“The ambulance people were attending to a woman who had been injured on her head.”
Police spotted Lipski nearby and spoke to him before searching him.
“Inside his jacket was what appeared at the time to be a handgun or imitation handgun.
“It was not immediately apparent to the police quite what it was.”
Defendant: Pepper spray was for self-defence on trip to library
When interviewed Lipski said he had the weapon for ‘self-defence’ and had been in Chichester on a visit to the public library.
Lipski, who spoke in court through a Polish interpreter, claimed that he had entered the UK with the weapon without any issue.
Defence barrister Rebecca Upton said: “It is a pepper spray described by the firearms officer as a plastic toy.
“He said he possessed it with the intent to use it to defend himself if he had to.”
Judge David Rennie sentenced Lipski to six months in prison, suspended for two years.