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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Cumbrian man who had toy hand grenade jailed

A man who terrified people by brandishing a toy grenade has been jailed for 100 days.

Andrew John Jason Bell, of Beck Farm in Crosby-on-Eden, admitted to “behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.”

Carlisle magistrates heard that Bell had been in the Railway Pub in Haltwhistle on July 18 when he placed a “grenade-like object” on the bar and started to laugh.

Adrienne Harris, prosecuting, said that Bell had “continued to laugh” when asked about it.

Bar staff got the impression that he was “looking for a reaction” and had quickly noticed that the grenade appeared to be plastic.

The defence and the prosecution could not agree as to whether or not the toy had a red flashing light.

The court heard that Bell asked “What would you do if I got out another arm [weapon]?” and “How did you know it was not real?”.

Bell later told a woman in an electrical shop that he was ex army and had a grenade in his pocket.

Miss Harris told the court that threats were made and that the woman had “felt uncomfortable through the whole incident.”

Bell then boarded the train to Carlisle but not before he had frightened a female passenger by waving the toy grenade on the platform.

The woman had been so alarmed that she had reported the incident to the train conductor and Bell was then arrested.

Judge Gerald Chalk, sentencing, said: “You have a history of disorderly conduct this was a bad one.

“You put people in genuine distress by claiming to be ex military and being armed.”

John Smith, defending, said that Bell may be suffering from a form of Tourette’s syndrome.

Mr Smith said his client had no intention of causing distress and had made a full admission.

Bell had initially denied all knowledge of the grenade but later accepted that it was his.

Mr Smith added that, while Bell had a long list of previous convictions, “none of them were for anything like this.”

Bell also pleaded guilty to travelling on a train without a valid ticket or any means to pay.

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