A DUMBARTON man who bought a cheap Taser from a Chinese website has kept his freedom - for now.

John Brand, 39, of Hawthornhill Road, Castlehill, pleaded guilty at the town’s sheriff court last week to being in possession of the “conductive energy device” on December 13 last year.

A tip-off to police led to officers being granted a warrant to search the home of Brand’s partner in nearby Perray Avenue.

Martina McGuigan, prosecuting, told a hearing at the town’s sheriff court that Brand had spoken freely and told officers that “he wished to own a Taser but was unaware it was illegal”.

Brand also told police it was the second time he had purchased an item from the site - Wish.com - but the first had not arrived.

Sheriff Frances McCartney observed that Brand had previously served a period in custody in 2006 and asked his solicitor, Scott Adair, if his client understood “how serious this is”.

Mr Adair said he had searched the same website and found a similar device available for £2.91. Brand claimed he paid £5.95 for his weapon.

He said: “There are pictures of implements that would be illegal in this country.

“There are some mental health difficulties in the background and some elements of paranoia.”

Mr Adair said Brand had been the victim of a serious assault 10 years ago and his mother described him as “not the same person since then”.

“That seems to be where this desire has come from,” he added. “He opened the implement, he charged it, but it was then put back in the case and not touched again.”

There were three capsules acting as the “launch system” for the device and “effectively like bullets”, said the solicitor.

Sheriff McCartney said she was concerned about public protection, but Mr Adair said his client had been released back in December without issue.

The sheriff said she was “narrowly persuaded” to allow Brand to stay on bail while a social work report and restriction of liberty assessment were prepared.

Brand is now on a curfew from 7pm until 7am until his sentencing on October 1.