Boy racer told ‘next time it’ll be loaded’ by man holding shotgun to his face

Paul Lambert was given a six-month suspended prison sentence at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHAN

Paul Lambert was given a six-month suspended prison sentence at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man has avoided jail for pointing an unloaded shotgun at a boy racer’s face and declaring “next time, it’ll be loaded”.

Paul Lambert “lost all sense of reason” when he confronted youths outside Woolpit village hall, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The ex-pig farmer had suffered “significant emotional stress” before the night of July 19, said mitigating barrister David Wilson.

Lambert, 37, admitted using the gun with intent to cause fear of violence at an earlier hearing.

On Monday, prosecutor Duncan O’Donnell played CCTV of him approaching the young men after one had ridden a motorbike past his Mill Lane home.

Lambert asked: “Why are you making all this racket? I’ve got kids trying to sleep”, before holding the weapon to the youth’s face and saying: “Don’t come down this road again. Next time you see this gun, it’ll be loaded.”

Following his arrest that night, Lambert told police he took the gun to protect his own safety and had been “shaking with fear”.

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He had since relinquished the gun and a firearms licence, said Mr Wilson, who presented a bundle of references to his client’s otherwise “exemplary character”.

In a letter to the victim, Lambert explained his family had been through a stressful period.

Mr Wilson said: “He is not, in any shape or form, a vigilante. He had gone through a great deal of personal difficulty within the family environment.”

Lambert and his wife had endured health scares in the lead up to the incident, which followed his father-in-law’s death and other family problems, topped off by working up to 15-hour days, said Mr Wilson.

“He had finally got his children to bed when subjected to a number of youths riding back and forth.

“For a brief moment, he lost all sense of reason.”

He said Lambert had since been referred to the Suffolk Wellbeing service for emotional support.

Lambert, now employed by a truck firm, was “disgusted with himself and embarrassed by what happened”, according to friend, Simon Hutchinson.

Judge John Devaux said the shared anger of other residents that Mill Lane was being “used as a racetrack” did not excuse Lambert’s actions, which appeared to have taken place while under significant stress.

He received a six-month prison term, suspended for 15 months, with up to 10 days’ rehabilitation, and a £1,200 bill for costs.