Student, 22, who donned PINK balaclava and walked through Metro station with a fake gun is spared jail – but forced to do 40 hours’ unpaid work
- Kevin Ditshego-Taiwo was spotted wearing the head garment in Newcastle
- When confronted, the 22-year-old university student said it wasn’t a real weapon
- He told police that he had been posing for pictures with the gun on social media
- He must now complete 40 hours of unpaid work as punishment for station stunt
A student who donned a pink balaclava and walked through a Metro station with a fake gun has been spared jail – but must now do 40 hours of unpaid work as punishment for the stunt.
Kevin Ditshego-Taiwo was spotted wearing the unmissable head garment at West Jesmond, in Newcastle, and officers noticed he was holding what looked like a handgun.
When confronted, the 22-year-old university student said it wasn’t a real weapon and he was just intending to prank his friends as they left the Metro on January 10.
He also told police that he had been posing for pictures with the gun and balaclava to put on social media and to use in music videos he wanted to produce.
When confronted, the 22-year-old university student (left posting on social media and right, his mugshot) said it wasn’t a real weapon and he was just intending to prank his friends as they left the Metro on January 10
Kevin Ditshego-Taiwo was spotted wearing the distinctive pink head garment at West Jesmond in Newcastle
What is the punishment for carrying an imitation firearm?
The Sentencing Council is a non-governmental independent body that issues guidance on sentencing which courts must follow.
For firearms the organisation suggests a starting point for a person carrying an imitation firearm in public is a high-level community order.
But the case can go to Crown Court and depending on the circumstances you could get 26 weeks in prison.
Carrying a real gun with ammunition will land you straight in Crown Court with a substantial custodial sentence.
He was arrested by the neighbourhood officers and later charged with possession of an imitation firearm in a public place.
Ditshego-Taiwo, of North Shields, pleaded guilty to the offence and was given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work at Newcastle Crown Court.
Following the case, Detective Sergeant Mark Atherton, of Northumbria Police, said he hoped the case would send a strong message to anyone else who thought carrying out a similar prank.
‘This may have seemed like a harmless prank at the time but carrying an imitation firearm in public is no laughing matter,’ said Sgt Atherton.
‘He could have been jailed for this type of offence and it is absolutely right that an act of such stupidity should result in his arrest and appearance at court.
‘Prior to his arrest he had already been showing off the gun on social media and the glamorisation of firearms is completely unacceptable.
‘To then carry the gun into a busy Metro station in the middle of the day is almost incomprehensible and he could have sparked a huge policing response.
He was arrested by the neighbourhood officers and later charged with possession of an imitation firearm in a public place
‘Thankfully our neighbourhood officers were in the area and were able to quickly nip the incident in the bud before there was any real community tension.
‘Ditshego-Taiwo will now have to contribute back to the community through unpaid work and I hope this the case sends a strong message to anyone who think this type of behaviour is acceptable.’
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