A pensioner armed himself with an imitation gun and went to challenge a neighbour and his visitors over what he thought were breaches of coronavirus restrictions.

Vic Redmond was unhappy that the man was receiving daily visits from two people acting as carers while he was unable to see this children.

The former RAF serviceman grabbed an air pistol and knocked on his neighbour's door - brandishing the weapon when the door was opened by one of the carers.

Swansea Crown Court heard the behaviour was not just out of character for the 68-year-old but was an "aberration".

Stephen Rees, prosecuting, said the incident took place in Margam in April last year during the early weeks of the Covid restrictions.

He said it seemed Redmond "took exception" to the fact his neighbour on Graig Avenue, Martin Wilson, was receiving daily visits from two carers, Stephen Kirby and John Evans, and on April 8 he delivered a note which read: "Tell your mates to go home. Stay home or take the consequences."

Two days later Redmond then approached Mr Kirby, who lived on the same street, and made his feelings known - Mr Kirby responded by telling him to "p*ss off".

That night, while Mr Kirby and Mr Evans were in Mr Wilson's house as usual, the defendant armed himself with an imitation air pistol and knocked on his door.

The court heard that Mr Kirby answered the knock but at first could not see anyone in the darkness - but when he stepped outside he saw a figure in the gloom pointing an object at him. Mr Rees said: "The figure was the defendant, and what he was pointing was a pistol."

The court heard Mr Kirby, a former serviceman, recognised the sound of a weapon being cocked ready for firing and "instinct took over" - he grabbed the gun with one hand, grabbed the pensioner by the throat with the other, and disarmed him.

Police were called, and a firearms unit sent to scene.

The prosecutor said Redmond's house was searched but he was not at home - however a police dog and handler were able to track his scent, and he was found laying in a nearby lane.

As well as the pistol, police recovered an air rifle from his house.

In his subsequent interview the defendant said he had gone to the house to tell his neighbour's visitors to leave the property, and that the gun was for his own protection.

Redmond, of Craig Avenue, Margam, Port Talbot, had previously pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

He has no previous convictions.

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James Hartson, for Redmond, said his client had been described as a "decent, hardworking, throughly honest man" who was of impeccable character, and had served with the RAF prior to be being discharged following "very disturbing experiences" in 1975.

He said at the time of the incident the defendant was dealing with depression, loneliness, and grief following the death of his wife some 12 months earlier and, "out of sheer frustration" at the situation had gone to confront his neighbour and his carers over their "perceived behaviour" at a time he was abiding by the Covid restrictions and not able to see his own children.

The barrister said Redmond himself had described his actions on the day in question as the most stupid thing he had ever done, and said his behaviour was not just out of character but was an "aberration".

He asked the court to take into account the defendant's age, his poor health, the "unique nature of the circumstances" and the recommendations of the pre-sentence report, and not impose a term of immediate custody.

Judge Huw Ress said Redmond had been wrong in his beliefs about his neighbour breaching Covid restrictions, and had been wrong in the way he had acted upon those beliefs, and said it was clear his grief combined with the stresses of the pandemic had made him behave out of character.

He said the defendant had been injured while serving with RAF in Cyprus at the time of the Turkish invasion of the island, and was of a positively good character

Giving the defendant a 20 per cent discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced him to 10 months in prison suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to complete a rehabilitation course.