A warehouse worker was jailed for eight months for shooting a man in the groin in a Mansfield street.
Andrzej Kowalewski, 31, faced a judge at Nottingham Crown Court, today, Monday, July 23, who warned that air weapons can inflict severe injuries.
Judge Timothy Spencer QC ordered the destruction of the rifle and told him: "I appreciate it is an air weapon but it is still a firearm.
"This court has seen very serious injury caused by air weapons where for instance a pellet enters the eye and in some cases goes beyond the eye and into the brain. It is not a minor weapon, it is a firearm.
"You fired it into a public street. In other cases the court has seen, pellets ricochet and hit and injure passing pedestrians. The discharge of firearms in public places cannot be tolerated," the judge added.
Kowalewski now of Commercial Gate, Mansfield admitted causing actual bodily harm and having an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
The court was told that he had been lodging with a family in Mansfield and lost some jewellery. After he left, he blamed one of the family.
On June 23, he was at an upstairs flat in Mansfield where he began to shout abuse as a drunk member of that family passed under the window. The man yelled back: "You grass."
David Allan, prosecuting, said: "The defendant produced an air rifle which, having been fired, struck this man in the groin. The injury was restricted to slight discomfort and a red mark to the groin area."
Kowalewski had 20 previous convictions including having a bladed article seven years ago, added Mr Allan.
Digby Johnson, mitigating, said Kowalewski moved into a Mansfield address with a family after being evicted when a flatmate failed to pay rent.
"While living with them, he believed jewellery had been stolen from him. He moved into a studio flat as quickly as he could but because he made the allegation, the family started to pester him.
"He reported to Nottinghamshire Police that he had become subject to threats and harassment," said Mr Johnson.
Kowalewski had been given the air rifle about five years ago, then painted it gold and yellow.
"Nevertheless it is still capable of firing a projectile. When the complainant came to his house that night, that man shouted at him because he had been in touch with the police.
"He accepts that he produced the air weapon. When he didn't go away, he fired it," added Mr Johnson.