An HGV driver found in possession of a stun gun and pepper spray, which he claimed was for his protection after illegal immigrants broke his arm during an attack in France, has been jailed for 18 months.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the stun gun and pepper spray were found during a routine search of Graeme McMurray’s lorry at the P&O Ferry Terminal in Cairnryan, on November 5, 2019. The HGV driver was on his way to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The court was told that McMurray, 40, from Denny, had bought the weapon for £15 on the internet and received a free pepper spray with his purchase.

In court, McMurray admitted possessing the stun gun and the pepper spray illegally.

Prosecutor Bill McVicar said: “He stated that nobody else had access to the items and that he bought them for personal protection having been attacked by migrants in Boulogne, France, in 2018 when his arm was broken.”

During the search at the ferry port the stun gun was found in a rucksack in the passenger side footwell. The pepper spray was found in the overhead locker on the driver's side.

The stun gun was tested and found to be capable of producing a high voltage shock able to temporarily incapacitate someone, although it had to be charged before it could be tested.

Both the stun gun and the pepper spray are prohibited weapons.

McMurray was sacked from his job as a lorry driver by his employer as a result of his arrest.

Judge Lord Mulholland told McMurray: “You pled guilty to possession of a pepper spray for your protection after you were assaulted by illegal immigrants during the course of your work. That is no excuse, you have only yourself to blame. Any cursory internet search would reveal these weapons are illegal.”

Defence counsel Lorraine Glancy said: “He was in full-time employment as an HGV driver. As a result of this his employer sacked him.

“He purchased the stun gun for his protection and got the pepper spray as a free gift.”

RHA national policy director Duncan Buchanan warned against lorry drivers carrying anything that could be deemed as a weapon.

“The first duty of lorry drivers is to protect themselves, but carrying a weapon is just not acceptable," he said. "We would never advocate trying to tackle criminals. That is a job best left to the authorities. Lorry drivers should always ensure they are parked in a safe place and if someone is trying to break into their vehicles to remain in the cab and call the police.”