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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 12:17 GMT
Judge calls for fake gun ban
Typical gun-shaped lighter
Lighters are made that resemble various guns
A judge has called for a ban on cigarette lighters that resemble guns after a replica was used in two carjackings.

Lanray Busari, 19, from Hackney, east London, was sentenced to six years detention for taking two cars at gunpoint within the space of four days.

There were calls for the lighters to be banned after police shot dead Brixton man Derek Bennett as he brandished a replica in July last year.

The sooner they are taken off the market the better

Judge Graham Boal
The Old Bailey heard both of Busari's victims were terrified when confronted with the realistic silver gun-shaped lighter.

"In the current climate what the justification is for the manufacture and sale of such objects defeats me," said Judge Graham Boal.

"It must be glaringly obvious that such objects might be used in a way you chose to use yours.

"The sooner they are taken off the market the better."

Shooting fears

In the first armed robbery, in Springfield Road, Hackney on 20 September last year, Busari sped off in a Ford Fiesta.

He had made its owner, Mehmet Kose, get out under threat from the imitation firearm.

In the second, a blue BMW valued at 10,000 was taken from Imtiaz Ahmed in Mount Pleasant Lane, Hackney after the lighter was held to his temple. He thought he would be shot.

Derek Bennett
Derek Bennett was shot while holding a replica
When he then tried to stop the car, Busari drove at him making him jump from his path.

"These are precisely the type of robberies which are so prevalent on the streets of the cities.

"That is why the courts will mete out punishment in order to deter other young men from following your example.

"You are still a young man and I pay such regard to that fact that I feel can be justified.

"But the unhappy fact is that increasingly robberies of this kind are being committed by young men of your age.

"The message must be spelt out loud and clear - that comparative youth cannot save robbers from sentences which are designed to deter.

"I believe this is the only sentence appropriate to the gravity of the offences."

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