Gun scare: Police tasered drunk twice as he threatened them with fake firearm after domestic row

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A drunken man threatened two police officers with an imitation pistol during a dramatic alert after an argument with his partner.

Hartlepool man Craig Waddington has been locked up after police officers had to use their Taser stun device twice to disarm him during the incident.

Police were called to the incident in the West View area of Hartlepool where they saw Waddington stood at the door waving the weapon around and refusing to drop it.

The officer who investigated the case said the incident showed “blatant disregard for police officers and even his own young child, who was present in the property at the time”.

Teesside Crown Court Judge Michael Taylor praised the two officers involved in the incident, PC Gareth Humphrey and PC Andrea Charlton, for their actions to avert a tragedy.

“I’ve seen pictures of the weapon,” said the judge. “It looks real, and the officers must have thought it was.

“They acted in the best traditions of British policing by putting the safety of others above that of their own.”

The court heard Waddington was involved in an argument with his partner at a house in Garside Drive, Hartlepool, on December 27 last year.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said: “The police were called and were greeted by Waddington at the door of the house waving the weapon.

“He refused to obey several requests to drop the weapon and calm down.

“The Taser had to be used twice before Waddington could be safely arrested.

“Analysis of the weapon showed it to be a C02 pistol, which was not charged or loaded.”

The court heard both officers were left frightened and distressed by the incident.

“They both said later it still plays on their minds,” said Ms Atkinson. “PC Humphrey said it had caused him to consider if he can remain in the police.

“PC Charlton said her thought was she didn’t want to leave her son without his mother.”

Waddington, 25, of Chepstow Walk, Hartlepool, admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Jim Withyman, defending, said in mitigation: “This was a drunken incident which was over after a very brief period of time.

“Mr Waddington has since taken steps to get his drinking under control, and he has the chance of work in the near future.”

Jailing Waddington for 18 months, Judge Taylor told him: “You are fortunate the officers dealt with you in the way they did.

“Had they withdrawn and called for armed colleagues, and had you persisted in your behaviour, you might not have been standing in the dock today.”

The judge recommended the two officers be considered for a chief constable’s commendation.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable John Dodsworth, said: “I am pleased with the sentence handed to Craig Waddington. This incident highlights his blatant disregard for police officers and even his own young child, who was present in the property at the time.

“I would like to praise the officers involved at the scene, who displayed the utmost professionalism and courage in how they dealt with the situation.

“This type of incident does not happen every day, but it’s something that officers could be confronted with at any time. I hope that this sentence stands as a warning to those who think that this type of behaviour is acceptable.”