Armed police swoop as 16-year-old brandishes fake gun
By Tan Parsons YOUNG people carrying fake guns in Haringey have been given a shot across the bows, after a teenager came close to being jailed last week. The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was among a group of youths seen wielding the
By Tan Parsons
YOUNG people carrying fake guns in Haringey have been given a shot across the bows, after a teenager came close to being jailed last week.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was among a group of youths seen wielding the silver pistol in Birkbeck Road, Hornsey, on July 11.
Armed police swooped after a call from CCTV operators at Haringey Council. When they arrived, the gun was recovered under a nearby bush, Highgate Magistrates Court heard.
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Magistrate Kate Douglas told the teenager: "This is a very serious offence. We don't accept it was peer pressure that made you do this. You are capable of making your own decisions. We have very seriously considered locking you up."
The boy's mother was ordered to pay costs of £50, and the magistrates told him he owed it to her to get a job and pay her back over the summer.
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The boy himself will now be subject to an 18-month supervision order.
Speaking before his sentencing last Thursday, he told the magistrates: "I'm sorry for wasting your time. It was a stupid mistake and I wasn't thinking at the time."
Police have used the case as an example to others, and issued warnings to any young people tempted to carry fake guns.
Haringey police chief Dave Grant said: "It's very difficult to tell the difference between a real and an imitation firearm, and that is why it is illegal to carry imitation firearms.
"We treat all firearms as being real, and deal with any incidents with that in mind.
"Armed officers will respond as though they are dealing with a real gun and will arrest and prosecute those responsible.
"This case reflects the concern of the community, with Haringey Council CCTV and the police working together to deal with this young man. We cannot have guns on our streets and we will be doing all we can to stop those who carry them."
The council's safer communities boss, Cllr Nilgun Canver, also welcomed the sentencing, and warned of the dangers to young people when they carry imitation guns.
"Fortunately, this incident ended without tragedy, but it could have been different," she said. "It is really important that everyone is aware of what might happen if you are seen with a realistic imitation gun.
"In the heat of a difficult situation it might not be possible for the armed response units to distinguish between an imitation and a real gun, especially since replicas can be adapted to shoot.
"Teenagers might think it 'cool' to carry such a weapon as a fashion accessory but the police are clear that this is very dangerous and against the law.
"This message needs to go out to everyone. I appeal to anyone who has a realistic imitation gun to get rid of it sensibly, today."