A banned customer terrified bar staff by appearing outside the window and aiming a pistol at them as they were closing up the pub.

Carl Taylor went home to fetch the realistic-looking Umarex handgun after being ordered out of the Ship and Pelican in Heavitree, Exeter, for inappropriate behaviour towards the barmaids.

The staff saw him pointing it at them through the window and had no idea that it was a ball bearing firing air pistol and not a genuine weapon. One described himself as petrified and one barmaid stayed overnight because she was too frightened to go home.

Taylor, aged 32, of Clyst Honiton, East Devon, admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and was jailed for ten months, suspended for two years and ordered to 120 hours unpaid community work by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He imposed a 60 day electronically monitored alcohol abstinence order, ten days of rehabilitation activities, £250 costs and made a one year restraining order banning him from the pub.

The judge told him: “You caused the staff to fear unlawful violence and fear they did indeed feel. The statement of one member of staff said she was absolutely terrified and could not leave until the next day.”

Miss Beth Rickerby, prosecuting, said Taylor was asked to leave the Ship and Pelican at 1.30 am on March 12, 2022 because of complaints about his behaviour by female staff.

He returned five minutes later and aimed the gun through the window but did not fire it. Police arrested him nearby but he did not have the gun with him. Officers recovered it during a later search of his home and identified it as a ,177 single shot air powered BB pistol.

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Taylor has made improvements to his life in the two years since this incident, moving away from Heavitree and seeking help for his mental health and abuse of alcohol.