A DRUNKEN man brought terror to a Birkenhead street by walking down it pointing a gun at pedestrians and motorists.

Armed police were called to the scene following a flurry of calls from petrified witnesses but fortunately two former ex-servicemen bravely tackled Alan Davies and, assisted by an off duty policeman, brought the scenario to an end.

Jailing Davies, of Holt Road, Tranmere, for three years today a judge said that on March 30 this year he had “created a situation fraught with terror by brandishing a realistic imitation handgun towards members of the public, towards vehicles using the road and to others.

“The situation could have escalated into one that was far worse than it was and could so easily had resulted in a situation where armed police officers had to open fire,” said Judge Alan Conrad, QC.

“You had a serious drink problem and were under the influence of alcohol at the time and it is clear from all the evidence I have that there is a risk of you behaving in this way when you have taken alcohol.”

Paul Blasbery, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that just before 1pm on March 30, a taxi driver called the police saying a man was walking down Argyle Street South in Birkenhead holding a firearm.

“He was walking down the middle of the road stopping traffic and pointing it at pedestrians.

"There were numerous further calls from members of the public saying he was walking up and down waving a firearm around, pointing it at his own head, at members of the public on foot and in vehicles causing pedestrians and drivers to panic.”

Caroline Jackson and her colleague Gemma Evans - both of whom work for the Wirral Globe - were the first to be approached by the man.

Ms Jackson told how he walked towards her and her friend saying he needed a police officer.

“As they continued walking he said, ‘I just told you, I need a f…ing police officer.’

She thought he was going to shoot her in the back and turned and watched him pointing the gun at himself and at people driving past including at the windscreen of a single decker bus.

“It left her terrified and shocked,” said Mr Blasbery.

Two ex-servicemen, Scott Morris and Chris Barlow, were passing in a works van and they saw people panicking and from a distance they believe the weapon was genuine.

However, when they got closer, through their service experience, they believed it was an imitation gun.

“He continued to wave it around, pointing it and waving it and was seen by Mr Barrow to point it in the face of a blonde female who came out of a shop. She was seen to recoil, obviously terrified about the scene unfolding before her.

“They decided to tackle the male who had walked past their vehicle and walking away from them and they intervened to tackle him and took him to the ground and disarmed him.”

Mr Blasbery said that off duty policeman Adam Lea joined in to detain him until armed police arrived. Davies, who had sustained superficial injuries to his face and hands, was arrested. The weapon was found to be a plastic BB gun.

When interviewed 56-year-old Davies said, “It is wrong what I did, I should not have walked down the street with a gun, I’m sorry. I should not have done this, this is major isn’t it. I should not have done it.

“He said he had been stupid and could not remember it because he had been drinking. He said he remembered taking it out but could not remember why and that it was daft because he was aware of how scared people must have been to see it and the situation could have been much worse.”

He concluded by saying, “I’m sorry to have put the public and emergency services people through it.”

The court heard that Davies, who pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, has ten previous convictions but none for violence.

Bernice Campbell, defending, said that it was clear that he needed assistance and had been asking for assistance. He does not have mental health issues and only has issues when he drinks alcohol.

He had made suicide attempts, which may have been cries for help, and the events of that day had been “a moment of madness. He is disgusted, ashamed and upset at what he did.”

He has been in custody since the incident and is on a waiting list for a detox programme,” she added.

Judge Conrad commended Mr Barrow and Morris “who took a tremendous risk with their own safety.

“The situation was brought to an early and safe conclusion by the intervention of these two members of the public. They acted with commendable courage and in my judgement their conduct should be marked not only by my commending them but by the award out of public funds of £350 each.”

Judge Conrad added, “PC Lea’s intervention should not go unnoticed and his conduct should be commended and brought to the attention of the Chief Constable.”