Peterborough man had air pistol in Turkey flight hand luggage

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A 39-year-old Peterborough man whose hand luggage for a flight to Turkey from Stansted Airport was found to contain an air pistol, pellets, gas canisters and a balaclava, must wait to hear his fate.

Sentencing of Yuksel Demirtas, formerly of Granville Street, Peterborough, who also had 41 grams of cannabis in his other luggage has been postponed until August for psychiatric reports.

Demirtas, had admitted the facts but pleaded not guilty on the basis of his mental health. As a result the Chelmsford Crown Court jury had to consider his mental state at the time of the offences last November. The court was told that he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act soon after the incident on November 2 last year.

However, five hours of deliberations though the jury found him guilty of possessing a dangerous article – a firearm – at Stansted and possession of cannabis. Now he has been remanded in custody for a psychiatric report until August 17 when he will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court.

Adjourning sentencing Judge Martyn Levett said: “I’ve got to consider whether he’s a dangerous person. It is exceptionally serious, packing a pistol, pellets, canisters and a balaclava and attempting to go into a cabin on a one-way ticket is very odd. Maybe, I have to take adverse inferences but I don’t know what danger he is, if any.”

Although he declined to give evidence, the court was told that a psychiatrist who saw him most recently said Demirtas had given an explanation that he bought the gun in Peterborough market to shoot rabbits and intended to do so in Turkey.

Prosecutor Nicola May said that Demirtas was stopped in a search cone area at Stansted at around 9pm.

A security officer going through his hand luggage had located a blue Berretta case and on opening it she found a silver pistol, 111 pellets and a magazine containing seven pellets. There was also a balaclava and a plastic bag containing gas canisters.

Miss May continued : “As a result, two police officers were called. They asked if he’d been stopped, and he replied he ‘didn’t know.’

“Asked if the bag belonged to him, he was confused and agitated. One officer thought he appeared to be suffering some mental illness. He replied ‘no’ and said he had been unwell.’”

He had gone on to say that some-one else had packed his bag and that he had “no idea what was in it.”

He had added later that his “brain was not very good.”