Man shot teenagers with air gun after they abused his girlfriend in Horsley Hill area of South Shields
A man who fired an air rifle at a group of teenagers playing football because he was fed up with youths causing trouble in the area has kept his freedom.
Samuel Field, 29, lost his temper after abuse was directed towards his partner, who had filmed the group playing outside their property.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that one of the teens was hit on the hand and another in the leg by the gun.
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said: "The defendant raised the fact in police interview he and neighbours had been the subject of youth disorder in the weeks and months in the build-up.
"The police have confirmed there have been a number of reports made of disorder by youths in the area.
"The Crown are not saying the youths in this case had any involvement in that."
The court heard that Field eventually snapped earlier this year.
Mr Wardlaw said: "The youth was playing football with a number of his friends in the Horsley Hill area of South Shields.
"He then became aware of the defendant and a woman, who the Crown say is the defendant's girlfriend.
"She was making a recording of them playing football. Somebody in the group became aggressive at the woman who was in the window.
"She told them in no uncertain terms to get away."
Mr Wardlaw said that by this point the defendant had become angry and approached the group to warn them off.
He added: "He took the football that the youth was holding away from him.
"The defendant then went back in his house. He came to a window, in possession of an air rifle.
"He fires it and the pellets hit the youth causing minor injury."
In a short victim statement, the teen who was hit in the hand said: "As soon as I saw him with a gun I knew he was going to do it.
"I will not probably not go back there now as I don't want this to happen."
Field, now of Bishop Auckland, County Durham, pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause violence and common assault.
Vic Laffey, defending, said: "For 12 months him and other people in the vicinity had suffered a significant amount of abuse.
"He tells me for about 12 months, sometimes up to ten times a week he could be reporting this.
"On this particular evening, however, some abuse was directed specifically at his girlfriend.
"He reached the end of his tether which resulted in something foolish.
"He's left the area all together.
"He is an adult and he should not have acted in the way he did."
Judge Sarah Mallet sentenced Field to 14 months behind bars, suspended for 21 months.
The judge said: "Your partner was recording the group to provide that recording to the police.
"One of the group made an offensive comment and you left the house, asking the group about what had been said.
"You warned the group about their behaviour, but the abuse continued.
"You returned to the flat, you got the gun. You pointed it out the window and you fired it."
Judge Mallet added: "You accepted your behaviour was an entirely inappropriate in response to a build-up of irritation and frustration."
Field must also complete 25 rehabilitation days, pay a £100 fine, and give £50 each in compensation to both youths.