Man tells GP 'I have a gun'

A MAN who sparked panic at a doctor's surgery when he told his GP he had a handgun in his pocket has been spared jail.

A MAN who sparked panic at a doctor's surgery when he told his GP he had a handgun in his pocket has been spared jail.

Manfred Arndt, 39, informed a doctor at the Ipswich Riverside Clinic that he “had a handgun in his pocket and had thought of using it on himself”, a court heard.

The doctor calmly persuaded him to sit in the waiting room before phoning police and alerting fellow medical staff in the building.

A spokesman for Take Care Now, which runs the Riverside GP out-of-hours base, said: “The doctor believes he acted as any other trained professional would have done in ensuring the safety of his colleagues.”

Arndt, from St Johns Road, Ipswich, was arrested at the scene by officers, who found an imitation Magnum revolver in a bucket outside the clinic and searched his home.

South East Magistrates' Court was told how Arndt, who was charged with possessing an imitation firearm for the second time in a year, had an “interest” in guns from a young age, a court heard.

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He failed to show up to court on Monday because of illness but was nevertheless handed a 12 month suspended prison sentence for his crime.

The court heard from Stephen Colman, prosecuting, how Arndt had been cautioned last year for a similar incident in which he carried a bb-gun in the street and threatened to harm himself.

John Stephenson, defending Arndt, said his client had bought the deactivated gun in Lowestoft 15 years ago having developed an interest in guns from a young age.

“We're talking about someone who does suffer from mental health problems,” he told the court.

“He wasn't there to frighten the doctor and thankfully no one was in any danger.”

Magistrates, however, concluded Arndt had “caused a high level of danger, alarm and distress to medical staff.”

Arndt, who pleaded guilty to the charge of possessing an imitation firearm in a public place, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months including a supervision requirement.

Should carrying an imitation firearm result in jail time? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk