A SHOPKEEPER stopped by police had a baton – bought on a stag weekend in Prague – in the boot of his car, heard Skipton Magistrates Court.

Sukhraj Singh Chouhan, 37, tested positive for cannabis at the roadside on the A59 at around 10.30pm on September 24.

While officers were searching his car they came across a telescopic baton, of the type sometimes used in law enforcement and classed as an offensive weapon, the court heard.

Officers also found a small amount of cannabis in a cigarette packet in the vehicle’s centre console.

Chouhan was arrested and taken to the police station for a blood test that revealed he had 2.6 microgrammes of cannabis derivative THC in 100 millilitres of blood, the specified limit is two.

Chouhan, who owns a convenience store in Earby, admitted drugs driving, being in possession of a class B controlled drug and being in possession of an offensive weapon.

Defending, John Mewies said his client was an intelligent man who owned and ran his own business. He was not a habitual drug user but at the time had split from his wife and had been offered cannabis by a friend to ‘self-medicate’.

Chouhan had been in the process of moving out of the marital home to live with his mother in Skipton and was carrying many of his belongings in the boot of his car when he was stopped at Broughton, said Mr Mewies.

The baton was under a lot of boxes and he had forgotten it was there, he said.

Mr Mewies said: “He got it when he was on a stag weekend in the Czech Republic, thought it was a good idea at the time and brought it back and put it in a safe place at home.

“He never had it out. It was simply in his vehicle as one of his many personal possessions.”

Losing his driving licence would have a profound impact on his client, added Mr Mewies.

“His shop in Earby is open all hours. He now lives in Skipton and there are no buses from Skipton to Earby. He will suffer considerably.”

Chouhan, of Tarn Moor Crescent, Skipton, was banned from driving for a year and fined £1,066. He was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £106. Forfeiture and destruction orders were made on the offensive weapon and the cannabis.