Man jailed for possessing 'highly dangerous' noxious substance at Bow Road station
PUBLISHED: 12:13 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:52 17 August 2017
A man who was found carrying a bleach-like substance described as a "highly dangerous weapon" has been jailed for a year.
Bradley Kerr, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how the 21-year-old was arrested at Bow Road station after police saw him carrying a bottle, having originally been called to reports of a suspected robbery in the early hours of July 18.
Officers searched a group of men nearby and Kerr was found to be carrying a squeezy plastic drink bottle filled with the suspect substance.
The judge, Recorder Sally-Ann Hales QC, said: “The obvious inference is that it was a bottle, originally used for some innocent purpose, which had been refilled with a noxious substance, turning it into an offensive weapon.”
It is not known how strong the bleach-like substance - which was found to have a pH level of 12 - was, but the court heard that if strong enough, it could cause skin irritation or burns, and could be very dangerous if inhaled or ingested.
Ms Hales added: “So whilst it is a commonly available household product, it is a liquid which has the capacity to do a great deal of harm, particularly in the wrong hands such as yours - which is no doubt why you were carrying it.
“A liquid of this nature in a portable squeezy bottle can have no possible purpose other than for use as a highly dangerous weapon.”
She continued: “Carrying commonly available cleaning products for use as weapons of offence or for the purposes of committing other crimes is, as I am sure you are aware, increasingly prevalent.”
“In the recent months there has been an escalation that has caused widespread concern.”
Ms Hales added that courts must respond to such concern by imposing sentences which serve as punishments, as well as deterrents.
Kerr is one of the first people to be convicted since the Crown Prosecution Service issued guidelines last month making it clear that a noxious substance could be considered an offensive weapon.