Blyth businessman found with 'zombie knife' and samurai sword in truck

Christopher Dryden was given a suspended prison sentence
-Credit: (Image: Northumbria Police)

A Blyth businessman has dodged jail after police found a "zombie knife" and a samurai sword in his truck.

Christopher Dryden was pulled over by police as he was driving down the A19 last year after officers noticed he had a defective light. But during the routine stop, two blades were found in his vehicle.

The 38-year-old claimed he'd been clearing out his office and said the knife and sword were ornaments. This week, Dryden appeared at Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced for two counts of possession of a blade and failing to surrender to court. He had pleaded guilty to the offences.

The court was told that on July 7 last year, Dryden was behind the wheel of a pick-up truck on the A19 when police stopped him at around 11pm. Officers later seized his vehicle as it had an unsecure load, and Dryden collected some items out of it.

However, one of the items Dryden picked up from the vehicle was a samurai sword. When questioned about it, he told police it was an ornament despite it being "relatively sharp". Officers then searched his vehicle and discovered a 12 inch "zombie knife" in the glove box. Following his arrest, Dryden, who was of previous good character, failed to attend a Magistrates' Court hearing.

Fiona Lamb, defending, told the court Dryden had been a successful businessman and owned a scaffolding company which turned over £1.3m. However, the business "collapsed" and he had to leave his office. She said: "Those items were in the office and he had to take them.

"He regrets his actions. He has not been involved in the criminal justice system other than two cautions. The defendant had ran an extremely successful business which turned over £1.3m. He was unwell due to stress and had lost contracts he previously had...he had to let 30 staff members go. The business is no more."

Ms Lamb said Dryden is now on benefits and that he may now lose his home. She said he failed to attend court because he feared he would have a heart attack due to an "extreme amount of stress" and an addiction to painkillers.

Recorder David Gordon sentenced Dryden to 10 weeks prison, suspended for 12 months. He must also complete 10 rehabilitation days.