Suspended sentence for Coddenham man who pointed air rifle at youngsters

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A man with an air rifle who terrified a group of youngsters outside his Coddenham home has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Simon West, 39, of Forge House, Coddenham, fired the unloaded weapon from the porch at his home on January 20, last year.

West appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday (January 2) after having pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence at a previous court hearing.

Judge John Holt imposed a 10 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

He also banned West from possessing an air weapon for 10 years.

Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, said West had taken exception to a group of four young people who were tobogganing on an incline near his house and emerged on his porch holding an air rifle, which was pointed towards them.

The group, described by Mr Thompson as ‘extremely frightened’, ran off after what they believed to be shots fired at them.

One of the youngsters told police West had shouted ‘come back if you want some more,’ said Mr Thompson.

The court heard that West had told police snowballs had been thrown at his house and, when he challenged the group of youngsters, they had become abusive.

Bur Mr Thompson said his claims were not accepted by the prosecution.

In mitigation, Ian James said West had no previous convictions and had previously worked as an engineer.

He said West had been an active man but an accident had resulted in him undergoing five operations and his mobility was now restricted.

West, who was fully aware of the seriousness of what he had done, had taken to drinking alcohol, said Mr James.

Judge Holt ordered West to be under Probation Service supervision for 12 months and to participate in a specified alcohol activity programme.

He also ordered West to pay £750 towards prosecution costs.