Concern over imitation batons
CONCERN was voiced today after a teenager was caught carrying a cheap imitation of a police baton, which officers say could cause serious injury.The weapon was found in the back pocket of the 18-year-old when he was stopped and questioned on Felixstowe seafront.
CONCERN was voiced today after a teenager was caught carrying a cheap imitation of a police baton, which officers say could cause serious injury.
The weapon was found in the back pocket of the 18-year-old when he was stopped and questioned on Felixstowe seafront.
The teenager – who has not been named – claimed he had bought the baton at the resort's Sunday market in Sea Road.
Senior officers say it is not illegal to sell the batons but they would be regarded as an offensive weapon if found in a person's possession in a public place.
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Felixstowe sector commander, Inspector Andy Bushell said the teenager had been cautioned for having an offensive weapon.
"If youngsters are buying and carrying these batons around there is the potential for them to be used and that concerns me greatly," said Insp Bushell.
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"You could cause someone a nasty injury, quite a bit of harm, with one. They are like cheaper versions of the police baton and operate in a similar way.
"There is only one reason for possessing them and that is to cause injury.
"Unfortunately, they are not illegal to sell, except to under 16s, and so there is little which we or the trading standards officers can do, unless the stallholder chooses to stop selling them or the market operator Max Kane tells them to stop.
"I do not want to see them being sold in Felixstowe because it does not do the image of our town any good at all."
The metal weapons, about eight inches long in their closed form, are known as "gravity batons". They are telescopic and snapped open by flicking downwards.
If they were spring loaded and opened by the press of a button, such as the mechanism of a flick knife, then steps could be taken to prevent them being sold.
Market operator Mr Kane said there were 80 stalls at the Felixstowe event, selling many thousands of items, plus stalls at Charlie Manning's funfair and also a car boot sale on the site on a Saturday.
"This is the first I have heard about it," he said. "I would have known if someone was selling something like that. No one is selling anything they shouldn't be, not to my knowledge."
It would be "virtually impossible" to find out where the baton came from because stalls sell so many and different sorts of items. He could not trawl through the items and discuss with each stallholder what they can and can't sell.
"The police do come round here and have a look. I seemed to think they were quite happy. They haven't approached me and I'm the market organiser. I would know about it," he said.
"How does one deal with each individual stall holder about what they can and can't sell? It is a general market so it is difficult to enforce."
n What do you think – should there be laws to prevent these batons being sold? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk