A TEENAGER found carrying a cannister of CS gas told police it was for protection after he was attacked by a gang.
Slovakian-born Dalibor Rybar, 18, was seen stealing a tub of Elizabeth Arden handcream worth £14.99 from TK Maxx, at Greenmount retail park, Pellon Lane, Halifax.
Police were called and as they searched him they found the gas cannister.
Mark Steeples, prosecuting, said Rybar moved to Britain from Slovakia three years ago.
He said a month before the theft he was attacked while returning home to St Augustine’s Terrace, Halifax, at around 11pm.
He told Calderdale magistratesa gang of up to five men beat him up but he did not report the attack to police because he could not identify the group and was scared of revenge attacks.
He told police he had bought the spray from a friend for £10 to protect himself.
Mr Steeples said he told officers: “I wouldn’t normally have it but I got attacked and beaten up and I had it for my protection.”
Malik Siddique, representing Rybar, who appeared with an interpreter, said: “He wasn’t aware until police told him it was illegal.
“He accepts what he has done is wrong. He is very worried about what will happen to him.”
He was given a 12- month community order, including 150 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay £85 costs.