A Milford Haven yachtsman returning home to Pembrokeshire from the Caribbean was caught with an imitation assault rifle and pepper spray, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Jonathon Blair, of Priory Road, had said he had the weapons for protection in case he came into contact with pirates.

Blair, 58, who had worked in the tourism and sailing industry in Tenby, also faced charges – which he denied - of allegedly importing items including pieces of coral and pink conch shells.

The prosecution did to pursue this matter.

The court heard that, on June 15, 2020, a Border Force cutter intercepted the Bally Hoo yacht off the Pembrokeshire coast, escorting it into Pembroke Dock.

Prosecuting, Jim Davis said the Bally Hoo was searched; customs officers finding an imitation AR-15 assault rifle-style airgun and a can of pepper spray.

The gun had been modified with weights to make it heavier.

The court heard it was an offence to import a realistic-looking imitation firearm into the UK.

Blair had said he had previously bought the items while in Tenerife, with the intention of using them as a deterrent against pirates if he went to Trinidad, where he'd heard they sometimes operated.

Blair admitted adding additional weights and an extra magazine to the imitation weapon.

He had previously pleaded guilty to importing an imitation firearm and to possession of a prohibited weapon when he recently appeared for sentencing at Swansea.

Defending, Matthew Roberts said the imitation weapon was a "very low velocity BB gun," and was not in working order. He said Blair had bought it for protection while he worked in the Caribbean, where such items were legal.

Mr Roberts said Blair had worked for many years in the sailing and tourism industry in Tenby before, in 2008, buying a yacht and sailing to the Caribbean where he now lived and worked for half the year; returning to Wales for the remaining half.

Judge Geraint Walters told Blair he found it difficult to accept that somebody as experienced as him would not be aware of differences in weapons laws between countries.

Blair was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years.