James Brown knife found with gun in Newcastle city center claimed to be family heirloom

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A man found with a knife on one of Newcastle’s busiest streets has claimed it was a “precious” family heirloom.

James Brown had been out downtown with his brother in December last year when the couple broke up and he got lost.

A court heard rangers asked police to speak to the ‘distressed’ 52-year-old, who was traveling to the area to spend the holiday season with his brother, but he was searched after he smelled of cannabis.

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No drugs were found, but officers did discover a locking knife, Newcastle magistrates have been told.

Now Brown, of James Street, South Ayrshire, Scotland, has been given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to possessing a bladed item.

Prosecutor Marc Atkins said police were asked to speak to Brown when he appeared in distress on Northumberland Street on December 22 last year.

“Officers could smell the cannabis,” Atkins added. “They thought it was from the accused, so they searched him.

“They didn’t find any cannabis, but they did find a bolt-on knife. It was seized and the accused was arrested.”

The court heard that Brown, who has 31 offenses on his record, claimed in an interview that the blade was a “precious” family heirloom, which had been attached to his bunch of keys for 20 years.

Sophie Allinson, defending, said: ‘He pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and has nothing similar on his record.

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