A MAN told police he was going to “blow his street up” on New Year’s Eve – holding up four police officers and an entire fire crew.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard how Andrew Ricky Callan made the threats against Main Street, in Shildon, during a phone call to the ambulance service shortly before midnight.

Joanne Hesse, prosecuting, said: “The police received a call from the ambulance service saying that the defendant had contacted them on the phone and threatened to blow his street up.

“Police attended the defendant’s house and he made reference to an ongoing investigation and said he called to ask why there hadn’t been an update.

“He told police he was distressed and had not been drinking, but he had been smoking a lot of cannabis throughout the day.

“New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year and the incident held up four police officers and a whole fire crew at the expense of the tax payer.”

The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to sending obscene and menacing messages via a public communication network on December 31.

He also accepted that the offence placed him in breach of a conditional discharge which he was given last February for an offence of racially aggravated harassment.

David Malone, mitigating, said: “There’s not a great deal I can say. He made that call, it was a very very foolish thing to do.

“It was New Year’s Eve, he was feeling particularly vulnerable, he lives in the Shildon area and that is a source of problems for him.

“Probation have been working with him very closely and hopefully he is moving out of the area because he has ongoing problems with the people there.

“There is never a good time to do this, New Year’s Eve is not a great time, but baring in mind he has mental health issues and the fact that he has entered a guilty plea at the first opportunity, I would suggest that you [magistrates] would be able to come down from a custodial sentence.”

A probation officer in court said Callan, 40, was working well with the probation service and had attended the majority of his appointments.

He added: “He is being closely supervised by the probation service. There are a lot of issues, he faces significant mental health issues.”

Chair of the bench, John Robinson, said: “We do not agree that this should be a conditional discharge, this has been a major disruption for the emergency services.”

Callan was given six weeks in custody suspended for 26 weeks for making the threat and no separate penalty for breaching a conditional discharge.

He must also pay £122 victim surcharge.