A former gang member who confiscated his brother’s cosh and questioned why the teen hadn’t learned from his example was praised for ‘turning the tanker around’.

Adam Gardiner, 22, claimed he’d seized the extendable police baton his 14-year-old brother was showing off when they met at People’s Park, Banbury, last January.

He told Oxford Crown Court that he’d put the cosh at the bottom of his man bag and was on his way to St Aldates police station to hand it in when he was stopped and searched by British Transport Police at Oxford railway station on January 12.

But jurors found him guilty of possession of an offensive weapon, rejecting his defence that he had a reasonable excuse to have the cosh.

That put him in breach of a 16 month suspended sentence imposed in 2018 for a hammer attack committed outside his hostel in Banbury.

After hearing from his barrister that Gardiner had been working throughout the pandemic as a warehouseman, had a permanent job lined up and was helping to look after his young daughter, Judge Maria Lamb found it would be unjust to activate the suspended sentence or impose a minimum six month jail sentence for the new offence.

“You do seem to have turned the tanker around,” she told him.

“Where have you come since January 2020? Well, quite a long way. You have been employed and you’ve worked hard and you are on the brink of being taken on permanently.

“Whether or not that is going to be affected by this conviction I know not, but it is fair to say it reflects well on you.

“You have sustained a relationship with your daughter and you are making financial contributions.”


The police baton found in Adam Gardiners man bag Picture: CPS

The police baton found in Adam Gardiner's man bag Picture: CPS


She sentenced him to nine months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, fined him £500 and ordered he pay £500 in costs.

Put in the witness stand, Gardiner acknowledged he had a troubled past – getting involved with gangs. He was on a 16 month suspended sentence for a hammer attack when he was caught with the cosh.

Asked about the meeting with his brother, who he refused to name, Gardiner said: “I basically called him a stupid idiot, putting it in a nice way. I let him know how serious it is. ‘Have you not learned from my mistakes?’ basically. Then he was just sorry. I took it off him.”

Cross examining him, prosecutor Steven Molloy questioned why Gardiner hadn’t handed the weapon over at police stations in Banbury, where he’d met his brother, or in Bicester – where he’d met his probation officer before getting the train to Oxford.

Gardiner said he didn’t get on with the desk staff at Banbury police station and he’d thought the Bicester building was closed.

"I don't like putting myself into situations that could lead to violence or aggressiveness," he said.

Mr Molloy asked: "And you think that walking into the front door of Banbury police station could have led to violence or aggressiveness?" Yes, he replied.

The defendant said he'd not wrapped the baton in a bag and put it in the recycling as he wanted to 'get rid of it properly' so no one else could get their hands on it.

Gardiner, of Black Bourton Road, Carterton, was convicted of possession of an offensive weapon.

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