UK – An electrician was tasered by armed police because he walked into a shop with a screwdriver in his pocket.
Chris Thomas, 45, had been repairing the lights in a nearby pub and still had the tool in his pocket which led to a security scare in central Swansea.
He received four bursts of 50,000 volts from police officers after they challenged him in a Peacocks store in February last year.
An armed response vehicle had been called after he had been spotted by security staff in BHS with the screwdriver protruding from his pocket, and then followed by city centre rangers.
The case against Mr Thomas, who had been charged with a public order offence, was thrown out by magistrates, after an application by his representative.
Grayson Tanner argued the evidence given to the court from five witnesses was inconsistent, and that officers had not followed correct procedures before they had brought him to the floor in the shop, and used the Taser.
Magistrates were told Mr Thomas, an electrical engineer from Swansea, was a member of the Railwaymen’s Club and had been mending lights on the premises as a favour.
When he left to go into town, he forgot he still had two small screwdrivers in his pocket, and a small knife.
Three rangers were called to court and they described Mr Thomas, who had drunk several pints of cider, as walking in an ‘unsteady’ manner, but otherwise not acting suspiciously.
However, some of their evidence was described as inconsistent, with one ranger telling magistrates that Mr Thomas had put his hands up when instructed by police, yet other witnesses did not give the same information.
After the case was thrown out Chris Thomas said he was happy the long ordeal was over and called the case a ‘waste of money’.
‘I have a very supportive family and it’s been difficult for them too, and I’m very grateful to them, as well as my bosses, who have given me the time to come to court.
‘It is a ridiculous waste of tax-payers’ money to bring this to court. But I just want to move on now.’
Andrew Smith, prosecuting, said: ‘This was something of an unfortunate incident, when a man was arrested out of a misunderstanding.’