BT engineers 'feared for safety' as man shot at van near Newport
A man who fired an air gun at a British Telecom van near Newport and made engineers “fear for their safety” has been handed a 12-month conditional discharge and a court bill of more than £600.
Aiden Blase, of Howle, near Newport, shot the weapon at the Ford Transit van’s headlight causing damage, Telford Magistrates Court heard.
Ms Abigail Hall, prosecuting, said BT engineers who had arrived in Howle on December 8 last year to install fibre optic cables suspected they were being fired at when they heard the sound of something hitting the van.
She said the men at first thought they were being paranoid but one loud bang made the men jump and they left the area.
They later discovered that there was a hole in the headlight of the van and the beacon on top of the vehicle was cracked. Ms Hall said: “They decided to report the matter to the police.
“They were concerned about colleagues working in the area in the future.”
She told the court that police carried out inquiries and arrested 23-year-old Blase.
He made admissions of causing damage to the vehicle during a police interview.
Ms Hall said: “He admitted it was silly, boyish and immature behaviour. He stated he had no intention of hurting anyone.”
The court heard Blase had been smoking cannabis prior to the incident.
He admitted aiming the air gun at one of the headlights on the van.
Ms Hall said: “It did cause the BT engineers to fear for their safety.
“He said he was very sorry for his actions and the distress caused.”
Blase admitted criminal damage to the van and firing an air weapon beyond premises.
Mr Andrew Holland, representing Blase, said: “There is a clear risk involved in this case. He has to accept this.”
He said the air weapon had belonged to his brother, adding: “It is accurate. He hit the headlight.
“He’s full of remorse. He has taken the case seriously.”
Mr Holland told the court that Blase had fully co-operated with police.
The court was told the father-of-one was soon to be welcoming his second child into the world.
Blase was given a 12-month conditional discharge.
He was also handed a £300 fine and ordered to pay £87.50 compensation, £185 costs and £30 victim surcharge.
Magistrates also ordered that the air weapon, which was a long barrelled air gun, should be destroyed.
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