AN ASYLUM seeker sparked a major police response after calling 999 last month and pretending he was a doctor who had been shot, a court heard.

Ambulance crews and nine police units, including the force’s helicopter and dog unit, were dispatched to help Brian James Maghanda, who claimed he was bleeding in a dorway after being shot by mystery assailants.

Teesside magistrates heard that officers arrived in Cass House Road, Middlesbrough, to find the 39-year-old staggering drunk but unharmed.

Andrew McGee, mitigating, said Maghanda had developed a drink problem due to him being unable to work.

A report said the Zimbabwean national had previously worked as a chef in a Michelin starred London restaurant. 

However, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe later accused him of being a British spy and threatening him with death if he returned to his home country.

Mr McGee said due to asylum rules, Maghanda was unable to work and his alcohol problems arose from his frustration at being jobless.

Maghanda, of Mansfield Avenue, Thornaby, admitted sending a false message over a public communication network and was handed a 12 week suspended sentence. 

Trevor Watson, chair of the bench, told him he had narrowly escaped custody and said: “I cannot imagine what the cost to the tax payer has been. You are here as an immigrant looking for official status yet you are spending tax payers’ money on stupidity."