Charity worker ‘snapped’ and scared teens with gun after being tormented by youths

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A CHARITY worker scared local teenagers with a gun when he “snapped” after torment from local youths.

Luke James’ windows had been smashed, property had been damaged and laser pens shone into his Seaham home during the build-up to the trouble in October 2013.

Newcastle Crown Court heard three teenagers, aged 14 and 15, had been walking past James’ home on their way to the chip shop when he came out carrying an air rifle.

Prosecutor Sam Faulks told the court: “They were frightened, they ran away.”

James admitted affray.

Prosecutors accept the 19-year-old had been having trouble with anti-social behaviour while he was living at the house in Sutherland Street, Seaham, and his family’s home had also been targeted.

Judge Simon Hickey sentenced him to a community order for 12 months with 100 hours’ unpaid work.

The judge told him: “I think it is entirely accurate when it is described as you snapping on this occasion.”

The court heard there was a history of vandalism at the house where James was living and his windows had been smashed just the night before.

Stuart Graham, defending, said James has helped out at a disabled youth centre since he was at school and has done gardening work for the elderly.

The sea cadet junior corporal has seven GCSEs and has worked hard since leaving school.

Mr Graham said: “Here is someone who this is totally and utterly out of character for.

“The windows had been put out of his house the night before this, his father was around boarding up the windows before this happened, about two hours before.

“His windows were put out by local youths and laser pens shone. His family has been quite traumatised.

“He has basically snapped, for that one moment when he showed the weapon at the door.”

The judge warned James, who now has a Hartlepool address, he must never behave in such a way again.