A row about unsightly rubbish ended with a man picking up an air rifle and pointing it at a team of council workers.

David Langan reacted angrily to being confronted about the mess at his Darlington room before grabbing the weapon and aiming at the unsuspecting colleagues.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 53-year-old’s behaviour was witnessed by a neighbour who alerted the council staff to the potential danger.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said the council staff moved to safety and armed police were called to Langan’s home on Richard Court where the weapon was recovered on May 21 last year.

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He said: "A property manager for Darlington Borough Council and two enforcement officers went to his house with a request that he should remove rubbish from outside his house.

The Northern Echo:

"He was unhelpful and obstructive and she (the property manager) told him that proceedings would be taken. He moved some of the rubbish and then went inside his house and a neighbour saw him pick up a long-barrelled rifle and aim it at the officers.

“The targets were unaware of this but the neighbour told the property officer and they withdrew and informed the police.

"An armed unit attended and the gun was found to be an air rifle. It was not loaded."

Mr Newcombe said the defendant that intimidated a witness when he confronted them on February 2 this year.

Langan, was convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or alarm and witness intimidation.

Chris Baker, in mitigation, said his client’s behaviour took place during a tense confrontation with the council officers and reminded the judge that the weapon was not loaded.

He said the incident was ‘short’ and had been described as a ‘childish act’.

Judge Timothy Stead jailed Langan for a total of two years for both offences.

He said: “They were trying to get you to deal with the rubbish in the area. They were doing nothing wrong.

“Your response was to get an air rifle, put it to your shoulder and point it at them.

“It is right to say that you didn’t fire the weapon, there is no evidence it was even loaded at the time.”

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