CANNABIS dealer Joseph Woodrow, who claimed that a Mediaeval mace found in his car was for use in a Wars of the Roses battle re-enactment, has been given the benefit of the doubt by prosecutors.

Woodrow, 25, of Coventry Close, Priors Park, Tewkesbury, denied a charge of having an offensive weapon, the Mace, on June 24 last year but admitted having cannabis with intent to supply.

He also admitted driving with cannabis in his bloodstream above the legal maximum in Ashchurch Road, Tewkesbury, on the same date.

Prosecutor Mark Hollier accepted his denial of the offensive weapon charge and said the charge would not be proceeded with.

Although the mace was found in Woodrow's car several weeks before the annual re-enactment of the 1491 Battle of Tewkesbury the prosecution could not disprove his claim that he had it to take part in that event, Mr Hollier said.

Judge Michael Cullum ordered a pre-sentence report on Woodrow and bailed him for sentence on June 7. He warned him that all sentencing options including prison would be open to the court on the drugs charges.

The judge made an interim order banning Woodrow from driving forthwith.

Mr Hollier had told the court "These maces are commonly on sale at the Tewkesbury re-enactment festival in July. Lots of people buy them, even if they are not taking part in the re-enactment of the Battle themselves they dress the part and are often kitted out in such a manner.

"Locally these items do have a provenance and probably exist in quite considerable numbers.

"This mace was in his car when he was stopped by the police on June 24th. It was a few weeks before the annual festival but he said he was taking it from his father's address to his mother's in preparation for his attendance at the festival.

"I have reflected on the public interest in having a trial on this matter and I do not believe the public interest requires a trial."

Judge Cullum said making the decision was a 'fine balance' but he would not disagree with Mr Hollier's decision.

"I appreciate the background to this and the fact the defendant gave this information at an early stage," he said.

"There may be a gem of truth in it," said Mr Hollier.

He said the amount of cannabis seized from Woodrow was 42grams indicating he was a street level dealer.