A mother who tried to take a pepper spray into Northampton Crown Court claimed she needed the weapon because she was having trouble with her neighbours.
Angelika Kozlowska was handed a four-week suspended prison sentence for possessing an illegal weapon after she carried the item through security scanners of the Lady’s Lane building on December 8.
The 35-year-old Home-Start volunteer was due to attend the court building on that day because of a civil dispute with Wellingborough Homes over the placing of a fence in her garden.
But on the way in to the court at midday, security guards found an “aerosol type” canister in her bag and confiscated it.
Prosecuting, Mark Williams said Kozlowska told guards the canister was a “personal panic alarm”, but the security staff later discovered it to be a pepper spray.
When she went to leave the court she was told she could not have it back - but she then grabbed the canister from over the counter and put it in her pocket.
The action prompted a scuffle between her and police officers who had been called to the building, who then seized the item again.
Mr Williams said Kozlowska, of Great Doddington, told police she needed the pepper spray because she had “issues with her neighbours”, and she was not aware it was illegal. There was no suggestion she intended to use the pepper spray in the building.
Mitigating for her Ben Brown said the defendant had been experiencing long-running issues with her neighbours to the extent she had erected a fence in her garden to provide privacy. He claimed Kozlowska carried the pepper spray with her generally for self defence.
On the matter of carrying the spray into court, Mr Brown added: “Had she been aware that this was not allowed there is no way she would have gone into a courtroom with this in her possession.
“She was then somewhat petulant and snatched the item back.
“But this was not a big tussle, it does not involve hundreds of security officers.
“She was not threatening anyone with it or brandishing it about, this has come about because she did not appreciate it was illegal.”
Magistrates also required Kozlowska to complete a 10-day probation order to address her problem solving skills.