A man who pointed an imitation firearm at a kebab shop owner and others after he was told to wait outside because he refused to wear a face mask has been jailed.
Paul Griffiths, 57, of Penrhys Road, Ystrad, Wales, walked into the Rhondda Takeaway on Gelligaled Road at around 10.15 pm on November 5, 2020, and tried to order food.
When he was asked to put on a mask, he refused and was then told to wait outside.
As the shop owner tried to explain why he was asking him to put on a mask, Griffiths again refused and pulled out an imitation firearm from his pocket, before pointing it at people inside the shop.
A customer and a delivery driver dived behind the counter, fearing they were going to be shot. The delivery driver then ran to the living quarters and told people to lock the door, before running out of the back of the shop and calling 999.
Armed officers arrived within minutes and arrested Griffiths, and took him into custody.
After he was arrested, officers obtained a warrant to search his home in Penrhys Road, where they discovered a cannabis factory.
The firearm seized by police was a CO2 powered paintball-type firearm that is banned in the UK.
Griffiths was charged with possessing an imitation firearm in a public place with intent to cause fear of violence, possessing a prohibited weapon, and cannabis production.
He appeared at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court on May 20 after pleading guilty to the offences and was jailed for 20 months.
The officer in charge of the police investigation, Detective Constable Lucy Robins, said: “Griffiths’ actions that night were plain stupid and reckless.
“The people inside the shop that night genuinely feared for their lives.
“I would like to praise the actions of the owner who acted calmly and put the safety of others first by trying to keep the man inside the shop.
“The delivery raised the alarm quickly, which ensured our armed officers were on the scene in minutes while he was still at the scene.”