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Pepper spray

Published: 15 July 2001

Ray M, from Tyne and Wear, has installed a pepper gas sprayer in his garage. Such devices are illegal in this country, so Ray has declined to comment. He got hold of his from an American company via the Internet. The device is a ceiling-mounted aerosol unit designed to accompany a 12-volt alarm system. It is set off by sensors and fills the garage with pepper spray – the same stuff that is used in hand-held aerosol form by police to subdue criminals. It is a powerful irritant, which attacks the eyes, lungs, nose and throat. It can cause disorientation, breathing problems and, in some cases, a burning sensation on the skin. It can also affect the heart and respiratory system. These effects can last for up to two hours.

Cost: Raymond’s unit cost $250 (approx £165).

How legal is this?

Det Insp Ken German of the Metropolitan Police says: " Pepper spray is illegal to possess and illegal to use. It an offensive weapon prohibited under the Firearms Act. If you use it on a person you will be arrested for assault and possession of an offensive weapon. There’s no lawful excuse for using or possessing it. "

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