Alice lives in the UK. She and many women fear attack but pepper spray and other non lethal weapons are sadly illegal.

Alice starts a podcast reviewing deodorant and other household items, covering their size, range, composition, etc. Basically their usefulness against an assailant.

What (if any) laws are broken here? Does it matter if she includes a disclaimer that she doesn't support violence?

  • 2
    This is a really interesting question, I'm surprised there are no answers... Jun 30, 2023 at 17:43
  • Interesting idea. Conversely, what if someone marketed "sprayable hot sauce" for "quickly spicing up your food" (wink, wink)? huffpost.com/entry/… Oct 3, 2023 at 14:49
  • 1
    Mmm, incapacitating. Oct 3, 2023 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


It depends on what Alice says / how Alice comes across.

It's illegal to carry an item for the purpose of harming another person. Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 prohibits the "carrying of offensive weapons without lawful authority or reasonable excuse". It defines "offensive weapon" as "any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him or by some other person."

Generally, self defence is not a 'reasonable excuse' to carry an item. But that does not mean it is illegal to defend yourself with an item you happen to have to hand.

Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 makes it an offence to possess any weapon designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other thing. That makes pepper spray illegal. It doesn't make a 'safe dye spray' illegal.

Section 1 of the Knives Act 1997 makes it an offence to market a knife in a way that indicates or suggests it is suitable for combat.

It is an offence to encourage an offence. Section 44 the Serious Crime Act creates an offence of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence, which along with sections 45 and 46 replaces the common law offence of incitement.

So Alice the podcaster should avoid appearing to 'encourage' illegal behaviour.

Other than that, it seems legal to publish information that household items can be irritants or harmful to particular parts of the body. There seems to be no statute or case law prohibiting it. In some contexts the provision of this information is mandatory.

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