A police officer in South Tyneside thought he was about to be shot when he realised a man he as arresting over a minor offence was carrying a gun.
The constable was in the process of detaining Raymond McCluskey, who had ben causing trouble outside an ex-girlfriend’s house while high on drink and drugs, when he saw that the 19-year-old was armed with a pistol.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the officer bravely knocked the weapon from McCluskey’s hand and used CS gas to restrain him.
It as later discovered the imitation pistol, which had the appearance of a realfirearm, was a gas powered ball bearing gun, which was loaded.
The officer said after the incident last August: “My first thought was considerable fear, which only lasted for a second or two.
“I clearly remember thinking I was going to be shot.”
The officer said he was “shocked” when he saw the weapon but that McCluske did not get the change to point it at him as it was knocked straight out of his hand.
The court heard McCluskey, of Longstaff Gardens, South Shields, was initially arrested for criminal damage at his ex-girlfriend’s house but the charge was dropped.
He pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation forearm at a time of being arrested.
Judge Tim Gittins approved a police application for the weapon to be destroyed.
The judge said; “This offence was a serious one. Albeit it was a air weapon, not a real weapon. The fact is, those you came into contact with that night, including your ex-partner and police officers, were unaware of that.
“While in possession of that weapon you were high on drink and valium.
“That combination, while it might explain why you behaved in the reckless way you did, made you more unpredictable, and therefore more dangerous in th eyes of both your ex partner and police officers.
“When police tried to detain you you produced that weapon and you accept they would have thought, understandably, that it was real and they were about to get shot.”
Judge Gittins sentenced McCluskey to a community order for 12 months with a restraining order to stay away from his ex.
The judge said a custodial sentence would normally follow but McCluskey has already served the equivalent of almost a year behind bars while on remand.
McCluskey was warned that time he has spent behind bars would count for nothing if he re-offends and has to re-sentenced.
Vic Laffey, defending, said McCluskey was keen to co-operate with probation officials who would be willing to help him.