Po­lice and fire crews called out after drunk calls sparked hand­gun and blaze alert

Ayrshire Post - - Special Report - Pippa Smith

A man was so drunk that he sparked a firearms in­ves­ti­ga­tion and made a hoax call to the fire brigade.

John Poole, of Pater­son Street in Ayr, was so “skewed by the quan­tity of al­co­hol that he had taken”, he cre­ated the fic­tional in­ci­dents at The Pi­o­neer, Prest­wick and Saun­terne Road, Prest­wick on Au­gust 13 this year.

The 42- year- old ad­mit­ted to caus­ing po­lice of­fi­cers to be in­volved in a ‘ false’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion of a firearm and mak­ing a hoax call to Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice, caus­ing an un­nec­es­sary re­sponse.

He ap­peared be­fore Sher­iff David Young QC at Ayr Sher­iff Court last week.

The court heard how, al­though Poole had been strug­gling with al­co­hol, he had re­cently been of­fered full- time em­ploy­ment and was out cel­e­brat­ing with his long- term part­ner when he the in­ci­dents took place.

De­pute Fis­cal, Ed Sheeran, ex­plained: “It was 18: 52 hours and the po­lice area con­trol room re­ceived a call from an anony­mous caller re­port­ing hav­ing seen some­one with a hand gun. It was es­tab­lished that it was the ac­cused who made the call. He re­quested that po­lice of­fi­cers met him. When of­fi­cers ar­rived, they at­tempted to talk to the ac­cused but he had been found to be un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol.”

Poole de­scribed to po­lice of­fi­cers that the per­son that he al­leged to have seen with a hand­gun was a male of “heavy build wear­ing a grey hoodie” and was “in pos­ses­sion of a hand­gun”.

Mr Sheeran con­tin­ued: “En­quiries were made and CCTV re­vealed that no such per­son was in the build­ing.

“Later, po­lice were made aware of a fire at a lo­cus and the ac­cused was iden­ti­fied to be the per­son who had made this call - Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice were de­ployed.”

The court heard how it was later re­vealed that Poole had mis­taken smoke com­ing from a ven­ti­la­tion point to be a fire.

He was cau­tioned and charged and placed un­der ar­rest fol­low­ing the two in­ci­dents.

Speak­ing his be­half, de­fence so­lic­i­tor Tony Currie, said: “Mr Poole ac­cepts full re­spon­si­bil­ity - these calls were not made de­lib­er­ately but were events that oc­curred while his per­cep­tion was skewed by the quan­tity of al­co­hol that he had taken.

“This is a man who has had long- stand­ing is­sue with al­co­hol.”

Mr Currie added that Poole was sub­ject to an al­co­hol pro­gramme and was on this at the time of the of­fend­ing, how­ever he has since “sort help” for his ad­dic­tion.

Sher­iff Young, said: “This is a very se­ri­ous of­fence - not only wast­ing po­lice time but ref­er­ence to a hand­gun is a trig­ger. All this of­fend­ing comes when you are drink­ing. But I think that this is a pos­i­tive step that you are tak­ing in sort­ing out your ad­dic­tion.”

Poole’s sen­tence was de­ferred for the out­come of his self re­fer­ral to NHS ad­dic­tion ser­vices.

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