Jail for mum who aimed gun at strangers

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A WHITLEY Bay mum has been jailed for brandishing an air rifle in a quiet residential street, terrifying passers-by.

Local schools were forced to keep the children inside over lunch time when Jane McComb took the .177 calibre Airgun onto Burnside Terrace in the town because she was dared too.

Armed police officers were deployed to the street on January 18 this year after witnesses reported McComb taking aim at people with a “blank but determined stare”.

At Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday Judge Rachel Hudson jailed the mother of one of Park Avenue in Whitley Bay for 12 months.

Prosecuting the case, Andy Rutter said: “Several firearms officers were deployed.

“Local schools were asked to keep the children inside over lunchtime.

“Rumours got out and the police were inundated with calls from parents who were concerned and seeking information.

“The surrounding streets were cordoned off, causing considerable disruption to traffic.

“The defendant was arrested and said she had been dared to go into the street.

“She had been drinking all day and the previous night.”

The weapon used in the incident was capable of discharging pellets with lethal force and can be categorised as a firearm.

One female motorist told the police she feared she would be shot as she reversed her car away while the airgun was pointed at her.

A taxi driver, who passed the incident also said he was “shaken and shocked” by what he saw.

The court heard that the weapon belonged to a friend of McComb’s who was inside her house at the time of the incident.

Defending the 21-year-old Brian Mark said: “In her mind she did not have any intention to cause a serious incident that day.

“She understands the terrible amount of trouble and trauma she caused.”

The court heard that when McComb was 12-years-old her sister died, and she started abusing alcohol then, but started a detox after the incident this year.

Judge Hudson added: “Your behaviour mist have been terrifying to all of those who witnessed it.”

Speaking after the case DCI Max Black said: DCI Max Black said: “This woman caused a great deal of fear to two members of the public going about their law-abiding business who had the weapon pointed at them. “These people were not in a position to know whether it was an air weapon or not and were very frightened.

“Similarly, passers-by who saw what was happening were put in fear and called the police.

“This woman told the court she was carrying out a prank. Our message is that persons using a firearm in these circumstances are carrying out a serious criminal offence and the sentence of the court reflects this.

“We will not tolerate the criminal use of firearms and people who possess or carry them should expect to be targeted by police.

“This sentence illustrates that those committing such crimes will be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law and can expect to receive a substantial custodial sentence.”