'I'm not a gangster': Man sparked security alert at Leeds railway station by 'colouring in' the handle of fake gun with marker pen 'for a bit of fun'
A man sparked a security alert by holding a fake gun and using a marker pen to 'colour in' the handle as he stood outside Leeds railway station.
British Transport Police officers became concerned when they saw Edgars Dombrovskis brandishing what appeared to be a real handgun at the entrance to the station on December 20 last year.
West Yorkshire Police were alerted and officers approached Dombrovskis and another man he was with.
Leeds Crown Court heard the pair began walking away when they saw the officers and the other man ran off.
An officer caught up with the defendant and he took out the weapon from a pocket in his chest area.
The officer took out a taser and ordered Dombrovskis to drop the weapon.
Christopher Dunn, prosecuting, said the 20-year-old complied with the officer.
Dombrovskis told the officer: "I have it for my personal protection. I'm not a gangster."
The weapon was examined and found to be an orange BB gun which had been painted black.
Mr Dunn added: "He was arrested and interviewed and said he wasn't a gangster and had painted the gun for a bit of fun."
The court heard the defendant had also been arrested two months earlier, on October 5, after police saw him throwing a knife into a bin after they stopped him on his bike on Back Stratford Street, Beeston.
Dombrovskis, of Marley Grove, Beeston, pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm in public and two counts of possession of a blade in public.
The defendant spoke from the dock after the prosecution case was outlined in court.
Speaking through a Russian interpreter, he said: "I don't understand why I need to go to prison.
"I had a very stressful time due to my domestic situation and had to live with some very rough people.
"I had nowhere else to go and they were dangerous."
Richard Reed, mitigating, said the offences happened after Dombrovskis was told to move out of his family home by his mother after she "took the view that he should be fending for himself."
Mr Reed said his client then moved into accommodation where he felt intimidated by the other residents.
Mr Reed said Dombrovskis was colouring in the handle of the gun with marker pen when he was seen by the transport police officers.
Dombrovskis was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
Judge Christopher Batty said: "Let me be clear, if I sent you to prison today you could have no complaint at all.
"If I thought you had those weapons in order to injure people you would be going to custody today.
"The point is that carrying a weapon means that you can injure someone, and very seriously injure someone.
"But you are a young man with no convictions and in my view are quite immature, and so I am going to give you an opportunity to work with the probation service."