A man who went shopping after repairing a pub's lights was Tasered by armed police because he still had a screwdriver in his pocket. Chris Thomas received four bursts of 50,000 volts from police officers after they confronted him in the Peacocks store in Swansea city centre in February last year. An armed response vehicle had been called after he had been spotted by security staff in BHS with the screwdriver protruding from his pocket, and then followed by city centre rangers.
But the case against the 45-year-old, who had been charged with a public order offence, was thrown out by magistrates, after an application by his representative, Grayson Tanner, who argued the evidence given to the court from the five witnesses in the case was inconsistent, and that officers had not followed correct procedures before they had brought him to the floor in the shop, and used the Taser. Mr Thomas said after the case: "I am really happy the case has finished, it has gone on a long time.
"I have a very supportive family and it's been difficult for them too, and I'm very grateful to them, as well as my bosses, who have given me the time to come to court." Magistrates were told Mr Thomas, an electrical engineer, was a member of the Railwaymen's Club in Wind Street, and had been mending lights on the premises as a favour. But when he left to go into town, he had forgotten he still had two small screwdrivers in his pocket, and a small knife. Three rangers were called to court and they described Mr Thomas, who had drunk several pints of cider, as walking in an "unsteady" manner, but otherwise not acting suspiciously.
But some of their evidence was described as inconsistent, with one telling magistrates that Mr Thomas had put his hands up when instructed by police, and others who did not give the same information. At the start of the case, Andrew Smith, prosecuting, said: "This was something of an unfortunate incident, when a man was arrested out of a misunderstanding." Mr Thomas was praised for his first aid efforts in 2004, after being first on the scene at a car crash in Fabian Way, which killed three people. He added: "It is a ridiculous waste of tax-payers' money to bring this to court. But I just want to move on now."